Should parents send poorly children to school?

Should parents send poorly children to school? [Photo: Getty]

A mum has taken to Instagram to urge parents not to send their children to school if they know they are sick.

It can be a tricky situation for any parent, when your child complains of a sore throat or wakes up with a runny nose. You know a day off school means you’re going to have to make childcare arrangements, book time off work, or juggle existing commitments and/or other children.

And who knows they may be fine once they get to school. So do you send them in regardless?

Well, one mum has issued a plea to parents to rethink plans to send poorly kids to school.

Maria Jordan MacKeigan took to Instagram to share a photo of her daughter, Jordan Grace, in hospital to illustrate to other parents what could happen if she catches, what many would consider, “the common cold”.

That’s because MacKeigan’s daughter has Down’s Syndrome, and one side effect of that is a compromised immune system, meaning even a simple cold can result in serious illness.


“Tears and anger both flowed for me at school today,” she wrote alongside a previous image of Jordan Grace poorly in hospital. “I took Jordan Grace home. When my child gets the simple cold she may end up like this! I can’t for the life of me understand why people would put others at risk “because they have so many things to do””

She went on to point out that school shouldn’t be looked at as a form of childcare.

“(FYI school is not the babysitting club) not only are others at risk but your own child needs you to cuddle them, to love them, to care for them back to health,” she wrote.

“When Jordan Grace is sick, I think of her first, and how miserable she would be at school. How she needs her mama by her side caring for her. But I also think of others, I don’t want my child to go get others sick especially those who may end up in the hospital because their little bodies can’t fight the sickness off on their own.”

“If we cared more about the world around us and not just ourselves this world would be a much better place!” she concluded her post.


And since sharing the mum-of-two from Canada has received hundreds of likes from followers who likely agree with the her standpoint that the classroom is not the place for poorly children.

But it appears not everyone agreed and although the comments have since been hidden, it appears the post received some input from other parents who wanted to point out how tricky it was for working parents when their children required time off school.

MacKeigan later updated her post to clarify her words.

“If you read my post carefully and without judgement, I specify this frustration was towards a parent who doesn’t work, but “has things to do” and used the school system as the babysitting club!” she wrote.

“I understand I will get a lot of criticism, but please read before you reply to me like I don’t know what work responsibilities are!”

It seems MacKeigan is right to be concerned about parents overlooking illness as recent statistics have revealed that many parents do send their children to school despite them being sick.

A study by BUPA for their ‘How are you Britain?’ report found that more than half of British parents admit to sending their kids to nursery or school when they are poorly.

One in five parents will even overlook conditions such as diarrhoea and vomiting, which they believe doesn’t justify keeping their children at home.

Two thirds of the 1,042 parents asked believed their youngsters would ‘perk up’ once they arrived at school, while almost a fifth (19%) complained that a lack of childcare alternatives meant they had no choice.

However, many of the same parents also complained that unwell children being in school lead to their own youngsters falling ill, with 68 per cent saying their little ones had caught a bug in school.

More than half of British parents admit sending their children to school even though they are too sick [Photo: Getty]

So what is the answer?

The NHS has issued some guidelines to help parents decide when to keep their children away from school.

They recommend using common sense when deciding whether or not your child is too ill to attend school and also suggest asking yourself the following questions.

  • Is my child well enough to do the activities of the school day? If not, keep your child at home.
  • Does my child have a condition that could be passed on to other children or school staff? If so, keep your child at home.
  • Would I take a day off work if I had this condition? If so, keep your child at home.

The Government has also issued some guidelines to schools and parents to help assess whether their children is too poorly to attend their lessons.

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