Can a child go to school or child care?

Download the Can my child go to school or return to regular activities poster. 

This guidance is for children ages 6 months and older who are feeling sick. You can use it for all respiratory illnesses.

This guidance does not apply if your child:

Observe and talk to your child every day to see if they have new or worsening symptoms.

Red symptoms

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Yellow symptoms 

  • Headache
  • Runny nose or congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea,
  • Vomiting or diarrhea (view the guidance below)
  • Fatigue or just unwell (muscle aches not related to physical exertion, significant loss of appetite)

No symptoms

  • Your child can go to school or child care and return to regular activities.

If your child has 1 or more red or 2 or more yellow symptoms, your child should stay home

Your child should not attend school, child care or take part in regular activities until they feel better.

Feeling better means:

  • your child’s fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications (this includes all medications that decrease symptoms including Tylenol or ibuprofen);
  • it has been at least 48 hours since their last episode of vomiting or diarrhea; and
  • their other symptoms feel as if they’ve noticeably improved and none of their symptoms are getting worse.

Your child does not have to stay home until all of their symptoms are completely gone. After a viral infection, some people may have symptoms that linger, such as a cough, but that does not mean you need to stay home until symptoms go away completely.

If your child has 1 yellow symptom

  • If your child has 1 yellow symptom, other than vomiting or diarrhea, they can participate in regular activities, school or child care.
  • Monitor your child for new or worsening symptoms.

Vomiting or diarrhea

If your child is throwing up or has diarrhea, keep them at home until 48 hours after their symptoms have gone away.

You do not need a note

You do not need a written note from your health care provider for your child to return to school, child care and regular activities.