Schools don't want our sick kids. So now what?

Keep your sick children out of our schools, say the educational officials. Fine, but what do we do with them?

Schools are urging parents to keep sick kids at home now that flu season is well and truly under way, however working parents say it’s not that simple.

Victorian Principals Association president Gabrielle Leigh has told the Herald Sun that some parents are treating schools like hospital wards because parents don’t have anyone to take care of their sick children. “Because of the number of working parents, there is just not somebody at home to look after them,’’ she said. “It’s a real problem. Schools just don’t have the capacity.

Two years ago I was the parent who used to tut-tut when my friends sent their kids to school ill. How could they? Their children needed to be resting. And now they’ll be at school spreading their germs to everyone.

Then I went back to work.

It’s really hard to make the call when children are well enough to attend school and when they are too sick and should stay home. When children do come down with a severe case of the flu, it’s easy to decide to keep them home, but often in the lead up or after the worst is over there are weeks and weeks of sneezing and coughing. It’s just not realistic for parents to keep children home the entire time.

But it seems schools and even the Australian Medical Association would like parents to err on the side of caution.

AMA state president Dr. Tony Bartone said sending sick kids to school causes their illness to last longer. “It’s going to make more children miserable, put staff members at risk, and risk a wider spread of an epidemic — especially with a much more serious bug like influenza,’’ he said. “And then there are the economic costs.”

At my children’s previous school I asked the teacher if she could tell when kids were being dropped off sick. She said that it was difficult to tell at drop-off but by lunchtime she could because all the medication would wear off.

So if your child starts to feel ill it might wise to take them straight to the doctor to see how serious it is. They can normally give you an idea of what your child has and how long it will take for them to get over it and be well enough to go to school.

And then. Well, time to have a chat with your boss.

Have you ever send your children to school while they were sick? How do you decide whether or not to send them?

Prepare for your child’s next illness by stocking up on these 12 foods to fight cold and flu:

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Shouldn’t my son be safe on the school bus?

Today I sent my daughter to school sick.