The chart that shows Sheffield parents how long their kids need off school for illnesses

It can be very difficult for parents to know exactly how long to keep their child off school when they are ill.

Thursday, 11th April 2019, 3:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th June 2019, 3:17 pm

Children pick up a range of different bugs and illness during their school years and it is tricky to know how long they need to recover.

Some illnesses like vomiting and diarrhoea require more time off school than others like conjunctivitis.

But, without regular trips to your GP, it's hard for parents to know when to keep them at home or when to send them back.

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Luckily, the NHS has published a handy guide breaking down a number of illnesses and how long they should take before returning to school.

The NHS website states: “It can be tricky deciding whether or not to keep your child off school, nursery or playgroup when they're unwell.

“But there are government guidelines for schools and nurseries that say when children should be kept off school and when they shouldn't.

“If you do keep your child at home, it's important to phone the school or nursery on the first day. Let them know that they won't be in and give them the reason.

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“If your child is well enough to go to school but has an infection that could be passed on, such as a cold sore or head lice, let their teacher know.”

The NHS chart, which is based on guidelines from the Public Health Agency, breaks down illnesses into those that require time off and those that don’t.

What are the illnesses that require time off school?

Chicken spots – when all spots have crusted over

Diarrhoea and vomiting – 48 hours from last episode

Impetigo – When lesions are crusted and healed or 48 hours after commencing antibiotics

Measles or German Measles – 4 days from onset of rash

Mumps – 5 days from onset of swelling

Scabies – After first treatment

Scarlet Fever – 24 hours after commencing antibiotics

Whooping cough – 48 hours after commencing antibiotics

Flu – Until recovered

What are the illnesses that don’t require time off school?


Glandular Fever

Hand, foot and mouth

Slapped Cheek

Head Lice