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How sick is too sick to go to school?

"For the time being, we should all assume that it's COVID and stay home."
Posted at 8:00 AM, Aug 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-16 10:00:24-04

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Flu season will be here soon, and as kids head back to school it can be hard to tell what's just a sniffle and what's something more dangerous.

In the past, it's been pretty normal to come to work or school if you're feeling just a little sick, but medical experts at St. Luke's say this mentality of "toughing it out" needs to change in the age of coronavirus.

"This change in the mindset of staying home when we're sick is long overdue," said Dr. Kenny Bramwell, Assistant Medical Director at St. Luke's Children's Hospital. "What we want to try and do is limit our exposure to other people particularly when we're sick. When we're not sick there are ways to prevent catching illnesses, but when we are sick the best thing to do is really to stay home."

Bramwell says if you're feeling sick at all, just stay home.

"For the time being, we should all assume that it's COVID and stay home," Bramwell said. "That's a lot of disruption, I recognize, but the only way we're going to slow the spread of this effectively--maybe not the only way--but one of the best ways is once you start having symptoms stay home."

The Twin Falls School District is recommending parents do daily health check-ins with their students.

"Ask them how they're feeling," said Eva Craner, the district's public information officer. "Do they have a cough, a runny nose, a sore throat?"

Infographic shows when students should stay home (information reflected in the article)

The district says if a student calls out sick, they won't be penalized for it. Instead the district will work with them to make sure they get caught up.

"We've eliminated all of our policies this year for attendance requirements," said Dr. Brady Dickinson, Superintendent of the district. "We're not going to have those incentives in place for attendance. We want people to feel comfortable keeping their kids home when they don't feel well."

If you're ever unsure what to look for, you can check out St. Luke's online COVID-19 checker.