Maybe I’m going to get the bad mom of the year award (or perhaps the bad wife of the year award) for writing this, but I really want some feedback. Because there is a little debate going on in our house (hence the possibility that my husband gets really mad by this post), but here is my question: Do you or have you ever sent your kid to school sick?
Here’s the deal. I’ve realized that there are things I don’t like about public school. One of them is the attendance policy. My daughter gets 8 absences (unexcused or not) and 8 after that as long as a doctor’s note is provided.
We were at 7 absences when we had to go out of state to a funeral. I called the school, explained the situation and they were totally understanding. We were gone from school 3 days. Then 2 days later, she gets sick. We were gone from school another 2 days and one days that week she had to come home early. SOOOO….she has missed a lot of school lately. And, yes, I know it’s just 1st grade, but they do care.
*side note: I’m a rule follower, so this whole issue stresses me out a wee bit.
Now to this issue at hand. She might just be learning at 6 1/2 years old that if she says she doesn’t feel good, her mommy that suffers from anxiety (especially as it relates to germs and kids getting sick), might just panic a bit and want to keep her home. So, she’s had this cough and stuffy nose that she’s been complaining of ever since she missed school LAST week for said illness. This morning she wakes up groggy (not a morning person) and says she’s super tired. Next complaint she is super cold. Eating breakfast (her tummy hurts real bad….oh and her head, too). So, that is when I start to panic. I feel her head and it feels warm. I grab the thermometer, check her temp and it is 100.2. Done. She’s staying home.
Insert eye rolling from husband here.
I can sense that he thinks I’m over-reacting. He is a Physician Assistant who worked in family practice for 2 years and has a little experience with school system rules, sick kids, and parents that over react. Oh and medicine too. He knows a little about that.
He tells me, “We should keep getting her ready for school and see how she is acting before we decide” I begin to argue…but she has a FEVER. “Well, kid fevers are different. And, technically it’s not a true fever until it is 100.4″ Now insert MY eye roll.
Meanwhile my precious 6 year old has asked to lay on the couch and watch TV (something she’s learned from the previous week perhaps?) I tell her absolutely not. If she is sick than she can lay in her bed and go back to sleep. She complies. For about 20 minutes.
I decide during that 20 minute period that maybe my husband has a point. And lo and behold, she comes out and asks for more food. (Phew. Not a stomach bug). I decide to tell her she has to get dressed and ready for school and see how she is doing. She may have to go after all. She cries, and doesn’t want to. We get her all ready and then she seems to perk up. She is playing with brothers and smiling and laughing.
So, I write her teacher a note to call me if anything seems off. And we send her on her way about an hour late. I had re-taken the temp and it was 99.5. Hmmm.
So, my question is, do any other parents face this same issue? What do you do? Do you just always keep your child home? Now, my husband can check ears, and stuff like that at home, so we know when it is serious, but when it is something mild like this going on, do you think that it is OK to send your child to school when they might be a little off? How do you deal with school policies? Do you always take your child to the doctor just to get a doctor’s note? Are we being bad parents by sending her because we might get other kids sick?
Please solve the debate in our house. Because I’m fighting someone with some medical smarts…and I feel like I’m losing. Maybe I AM overreacting. I have a tendency to do that. BTW, she is on her way home from school as I type this. So, she obviously survived the day. We’ll have to see how she is feeling/acting when she gets home.
*update: she came home happy, smiling, NO fever (98.3), and “so happy she went to school today because she got to do a report on cats on the computer and she had never done that before.”