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Renton School District

When To Stay Home

Decision Tree

Deciding when a child can go to school can be a difficult decision for parents to make especially during our current times. When trying to decide, use the guidelines below and seek the advice of your health care provider.

Image of when to stay home when sick for students

If your child has any COVID Symptoms or has recently tested positive for COVID, please visit Department of Health Covid-19 Decision Tree for more information regarding when to keep your child home. 

Stay at home

We encourage you to seek medical advice if you have any doubts about sending your student to school. If you student begins to show any of the signs of illnesses above, it will be necessary for your to pick up your student. Please keep all emergency information up to date. Please contact your school nurse if you have other questions or concerns.

If your child has any of the following symptoms, please keep your child at home or make appropriate child care arrangements.

CHICKENPOX (Varicella)

Chickenpox blisters appear in crops and are infectious until ALL blisters are dried and crusted over (usually 5-6 days after start of rash). Only then can children return to school. 


Runny nose by itself is not necessarily cause to keep your child home. Keep them home with runny nose AND a fever, bad cough, headache or nausea, or if the child is too tired or too uncomfortable to function at school.


Keep children home for three (3) or more watery stools in a 24 hours period, especially if the child acts or looks ill. Persistent diarrhea, especially if accompanied by fever and cramps, should be evaluated by your health care provider.


Drainage from the ear and/or ear pain should be evaluated by your health care provider. Untreated ear infections can cause temporary and/or permanent hearing loss.


Thick mucus, pus, or clear liquid draining from the eye may be contagious. One or both eyes may also appear extremely red and feel irritated, itchy, or painful. The eyelid may be swollen and the eye may be sensitive to light. Return to school when drainage and symptoms have cleared.


A child must stay at home if he/she has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher. The child must be fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medications (I.E. Tylenol, Motrin, etc.)


Notify the school nurse for evaluation of any modifications to physical activity, length of day, mobility or transportation needs. You may be asked to provide written information from your health care provider regarding limitations and special needs. 


Students may return to school after they have been treated for lice. (See head lice page for more details.)

NASAL DISCHARGE (greenish) and/or chronic cough

These conditions may be contagious and require treatment. Your child should be seen by your health care provider. 


Any skin rash of unknown cause is considered contagious, especially with fever and itching. To return to school the rash must be gone, or you must present a medical excuse stating that the rash is not contagious. 

sore throat

A sore throat, especially with fever or swollen glands in the neck may be contagious. If strep throat, the child may return to school after 24 hours of appropriate treatment, if there is no fever, and they feel physically well enough.


Anytime a child vomits two (2) or more times, they need to be isolated from other children for 24 hours. If it happens during the night, keep them home the following day.