Every school year, PreSchool Family teachers are concerned when children who are not well attend school. Health and education laws in California require that children be excluded from school when they have any communicable illness. While it is not always possible to determine whether a child might become ill during the school day, it is essential to take great care so that children do not come to school with possible infectious illnesses. If a child does not appear completely well, s/he should remain at home. A child with a contagious illness puts not only classmates “at risk,” but also participating mothers who may be pregnant and infants in backpacks. It is the parents' responsibility to consider the health and well being of all children, students and staff when sending their child to school.

Listed below are guidelines to help determine whether a child is well enough to attend school:

Fresh Colds

The period during which cold viruses are contagious ranges from one to three days. Since it is impossible to determine which virus caused a particular cold, children should remain at home for at least three days from the onset of symptoms.

Conjunctivitis (“pink eye”)

There are two forms of conjunctivitis commonly seen in preschoolers. One is bacterial and requires antibiotic treatment. The other form is viral and is highly contagious. Parents of children with conjunctivitis should consult a physician before allowing them to return to school.

Strep Throat

Strep throat is a bacterial infection requiring antibiotic treatment. Twenty-four hours after treatment has begun, strep throat is no longer considered communicable. However, children often do not feel well enough to return to school after the 24-hour period. They should not come to school until their energy level is back to normal.


Following any fever over 100 degrees, a child should remain at home until s/he has been without fever for at least 24 hours. Note that during the early morning hours, a child's temperature will often register at normal, whereas later in the day it may rise again. This is one reason why a child needs a period of at least 24 hours without an elevated temperature before returning to school.

Vomiting and Diarrhea

Children who have been suffering from vomiting or diarrhea need a period of time to regain strength before returning to school. Children should be kept at home for a minimum of 24 hours after the last bout of vomiting and diarrhea and not return to school until their energy level is back to normal.

Lingering Coughs

Lingering coughs associated with cystic fibrosis or following bronchitis are not contagious. For all other lingering coughs, parents should seek advice from a physician before returning children to school.

Common childhood diseases

Many common childhood diseases are contagious. Parents should contact their child's physician and follow his/her recommendations.

If a child has a communicable disease or head lice, parents must inform the School Secretary immediately. PreSchool Family adheres to the standards of the Santa Clara County Health Department. These require that the school notify parents when children have been exposed to a communicable disease or head lice.

PreSchool Family reserves the right to determine whether a child is well enough to attend school. Sick children will be sent home. The goal is to ensure the health and well being of all children, parents and staff participating in PreSchool Family.