During the winter months, we have typically seen an increase in absences due to illnesses amongst our students. As many of you are aware, Pink Eye/Conjunctivitis has been plaguing the school since late October, making its rounds from Little Friends all the way through the Sixth Grade. In the past the school has always followed the Allegheny County Health Department’s guidelines for the handling communicable diseases in a childcare and school setting, and used these as a guide for maintaining the school’s policy. To prevent the spread of illnesses amongst a child’s classmates, extra precautions need to be taken at home and at school. As a reminder, the school’s “Illness and Injury Policy” has been included for parents to review. A few updates have been made to the policy recently, including children must be symptom-free if they have had a communicable disease such as conjunctivitis prior to their return to the school. Please become familiar with the school’s requirements for avoiding the spread of contagious diseases.
Update to the Illnesses Policy (adapted from page 23-25 of your Parent Handbook)
Keeping Sick Children Home (Responsibility of Parents to a Sick Child)
In a school where colds and other minor ailments are commonplace, it is essential to try to prevent spreading contagious diseases to other children and their families. Children who are not feeling well are unable to enjoy school fully. Therefore, we ask parents to keep sick children at home where they can be given the extra care and attention they need. Please do not put your child on the bus if he/she is sick. If you find that your child has contracted a highly contagious disease such as lice, conjunctivitis, strep throat, ringworm, pin worm, etc., the child must stay home until cleared by the physician and is symptom-free. Please contact the office manager or class teacher immediately so the community may be informed.
Signs and symptoms for keeping your child at home:
- Feeling cold/shivering
- Fever (pale or flushed face, glazed eyes, warm forehead, and temperature above 99.6 F)
- Sore throat
- Unusual lethargy, grouchiness, or weepiness
- Unusual unwillingness to get up in the morning
- Diarrhea or vomiting, including the night before
- Inflamed/pink eyes (may be conjunctivitis)
Requirements for parents to follow to avoid exposing other children in the classroom to possibly contagious illness are as follows:
- Children with a temperature above 99.6 degrees F must be fever-free for 24 hours before returning to school.
- Injuries that happen at home or over the weekend should be taken care of prior to returning to school.
- If a child vomits or has diarrhea during the night or in the morning before school, that child should be kept at home for 24 hours from the last episode.
- If a child has a productive cough that cannot be controlled with medication, then that child should stay home.
- If a child has been diagnosed with a communicable illness such as chickenpox, impetigo, scabies, lice and/or ringworm or conjunctivitis, that child should be kept home until cleared by a doctor.
- If a child has eyes that are red, swollen, itchy, producing purulent drainage, or have a crusty appearance upon awakening, that child should be kept at home until cleared by a doctor and symptom-free.
The Waldorf School of Pittsburgh follows the Allegheny County Health Department guidelines for keeping children home from school after contraction of a communicable disease. *Please note that if children are still displaying symptoms of a communicable disease, even after treatment and clearance by a doctor, the school will ask to have the child remain out of the classroom. Additionally, if treatment begins mid-day and a 24-hour exclusion from school is required post treatment, the child is not eligible to return to school the following day in the middle of the day.
Pink Eye: Child is excluded from school for 24 hours after the initiation of treatment. *Please see the above policy regarding visible symptoms in the classroom.
Strep Throat, Scarlet Fever: Child is excluded from school for 24 hours after the initiation of treatment. *Please see the above policy regarding visible symptoms in the classroom.
Lice: Child is excluded from school until treated with a pediculicidal agent. Students who have been excluded must be checked by the Front Office and found to be free of lice eggs before re-entering the building.
Chicken Pox: Child is excluded from school until all blisters are dried and crusted, usually five days from the last crop of blisters to erupt. A physician’s clearance is required to return to school. *Please see the above policy regarding visible symptoms in the classroom.
Impetigo, scabies and ringworm: Child is excluded from school until judged non-infectious by the physician. *Please see the above policy regarding visible symptoms in the classroom.