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Illness, Symptoms, Staying Home When Sick, and School Nurse Dismissals

MPS School Nurse Guidance: Illness, Symptoms, Staying Home When Sick,

and School Nurse Dismissals:

(Mass DPH / DESE guidance was last updated August 25, 2023)


1. Current Massachusetts DESE/DOH Guidance for illness and school attendance:

Middleborough Public School Nurses follow the current State and Local Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Massachusetts Department of Education and Secondary Education (DESE) regulations and protocols with regards to all communicable diseases and infections. Here is a link to our most recent Mass DPH/ Mass DESE guidance pertaining to COVID-19, received on August 25, 2023. This guidance was last updated by, and has been in effect since August 15, 2022: Our entire current guidance can be found by selecting the link here:

COVID-19 Isolation and Exposure Guidance for Children and Staff in Child Care, K-12

MPS  contagious illness guidance for children in Pre-k and K-12 settings is managed through coordination with our local MDPH Nurse Jaclyn Johnson BSN PHRN.

Please keep your child home from school if your student has:

  • A temperature of 100.1 F or higher during the previous 24 hours. Students are to be fever free without
  • use of medication for 24 hours before returning to school.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea: Students are to have no vomiting and no diarrhea for 24 hours before returning to school.
  • Signs or symptoms of flu/Influenza include body aches, chills, headache, fatigue.
  • Please contact your pediatrician or healthcare provider if your child needs medical care.
  • Please notify your School Nurse if your child tests positive for COVID19, Strep, or Influenza. This will help us assess and possibly detect illnesses in others sooner.
  • If your student has tested positive for COVID-19, please  follow our most recent Mass State and Local Public Health guidance, which includes Children and staff who test positive must isolate for at least 5 days from onset of symptoms. This public health guidance for Massachusetts Schools K -12 can be found here, COVID-19 Isolation and Exposure Guidance for Children and Staff in Child Care, K-12, effective August 15, 2022 and was renewed for the 2023-24 school year on August 25, 2023.
  • Please notify your school about any changes in any of your emergency contact phone numbers and/or emails so that we may reach you promptly if your student is ill and needs to be dismissed from school to recover at home.

2. MPS Health Services General Guidance: Illness & School Nurse Dismissal for illness:

When your child is not feeling well during the school day, our MPS School Nurses are available in the School Health Office to assess your child. We ask parents/care providers to please have a plan in place to pick up your child in case he/she needs to be dismissed from school for illness or accidental injury. If a student has symptoms of illness needing to be dismissed, the school nurse will contact the parents/care providers as listed on your child's Emergency Contact sheet. We will contact all names you listed on the Nurse Emergency Contact sheet until someone is reached.  

Please keep in mind that your child can be ill and contagious without the presence of a fever.

Below is a list of common health issues for your reference.  This is a partial list as your School Nurse’s assessment determines when a student is unwell and in need of a nursing dismissal from school.  Thank you.

  • FEVER- We consider a temperature of 100 degrees or higher a fever. Children should remain at home fever-free for 24 hours without taking Tylenol or Motrin.

  • VOMITING/DIARRHEA- Children should remain at home symptom-free for 24 hours and are able to ingest fluids and food comfortably.

  • COUGHS/COLDS- If your child has discomfort from their cold symptoms, consider keeping them home. A continuous cough and/or continuous or green nasal drainage may need to be evaluated by your child’s physician.

  • CONJUNCTIVITIS- Your child may need to be on an antibiotic for 24 hours after the first dose before returning to school or a note from your student Pediatrician/MD with other guidance. Good hand-washing for the entire family is essential to prevent its spread.

  • STREP THROAT- Children cannot return to school until 24 hours after the first dose of antibiotic is taken. They should feel well enough to return to school. Some children feel ill for several days with strep infections.

  • SUSPICIOUS RASH- Children with rashes that are suspicious should have them evaluated by a physician and be cleared to return to school.

  • MONONUCLEOSIS- Please contact the school nurse if your child is diagnosed with mono. Your child’s physician will most likely place restrictions on their physical activity and temporary accommodations can be arranged at school.

  • HEAD LICE- Please refer to our link section for specific information on treating head lice. Children must be treated with a pediculosis (such as Nix) before returning to school. Please contact your child’s physician for advice on which product he recommends. You should accompany your child to school and the nurse will check them before they return to the classroom.

  • FIFTH’S DISEASE- Children are no longer contagious by the time symptoms appear with this viral illness. Fifth’s disease is of concern to pregnant women and should be reported to the school nurse.

  • CHICKENPOX- Your child should remain at home five days or until all areas are crusted over, completely dry and no new areas are breaking out.

  • IMPETIGO- Your child must remain at home until 24 hours after the first dose of antibiotics.

  • Note: prescription medications that have multiple doses per day should be given at home as much as possible: for example, antibiotics are often prescribed three times a day,  for five, seven or ten days in a row. Families should plan to administer their children's antibiotic medication at home. For example, a three-times-a-day antibiotic can be given at home: before school, after school and at the students' bedtime.