Monday, April 19, 2010

Sending kids home sick

Title 22 says you can't keep a sick kid in your center. But how sick is sick enough to send home? The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association put out some guidelines, got some states to endorse them, and then asked center directors (in Milwaukee, where the state has endorsed the guidelines) about kids with "cold, conjunctivitis, gastroenteritis, fever and tinea capitis (a scalp infection)," none of which should get a kid sent home, according to the guidelines.
The researchers found that overall, directors would unnecessarily exclude 57 percent of children with mild illnesses. Responses ranged from eight percent of directors unnecessarily excluding a child with a cold, to 84 percent of directors unnecessarily excluding a child with tinea capitis. Directors with greater child care experience and directors of larger centers made fewer unnecessary exclusion decisions.
It looks to me as though 84% of the directors didn't know what tinea capitis is and so erred on the side of caution.  It also looks as though a lot of directors don't know what to do about more common illnesses.

It's hard. You don't want to violate licensing regs, and you don't want to make other kids sick, but you also don't want to mess up working parents' child care. Staying home from work with a sick kid can cost people money they can't afford. So I guess the summary is that everything is hard, and directors should be aware of the rules and guidelines affecting their chosen managerial role and do their damned job.

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