Cough. Sneeze. Sniffle. Here’s how schools handle students who show up sick

(Southside Daily file photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)
(Southside Daily file photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)

VIRGINIA BEACH — The 2019-2020 school year is coming up and all those kids in one place means germs.

And they share them.

The school district here does not have any specific liability insurance for kids who get sick while at school but they do have people on site — the school nurse — to help students who find themselves ill during the school day, said Sondra Woodward, spokeswoman for Virginia Beach Public Schools.

They do, however, work with the Virginia Beach Public Health Department and follow their school community notification recommendations in collaboration with the district’s Communications and Community Engagement and Department of School Leadership that are related to reportable diseases or outbreaks in a school, she said.

Parents are not required to report a specific health diagnosis or illness to school staff.

“However, should their child be excluded by the school nurse for signs of a contagious illness or infection, the nurse can require either the student returns back to school well or with a return-to-school note from a health care provider stating the student was treated and non-contagious,” Woodward said.

That note does not need to list the diagnosis, she added.

Staying healthy

The ideal way to avoid having to keep a child at home for being ill is to keep them from getting sick in the first place.

Making sure the children are up to date on their required vaccinations as well as enforcing healthy habits such as washing their hands and coughing into their shoulders are ways to keep everyone healthier in the classroom, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC also has a Virtual Healthy School website which can aid in teaching kids how to remain safe and healthy while attending schools.

To learn more about health in general, click here.

For more information on the school district’s health services, click here.

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