Opinions re: Child's high rate of absences?

  1. 0 I'm wondering if I can get some opinions from school nurses out there...

    My son is 7 years old, in first grade. He was born at 29 weeks weighing 1.5 pounds. He was in NICU for 65 days. He had breathing issues, mechanical ventilation, tube feeds, infections, occipital bleeds, etc. He has mild CP and developmental delays. However, he is thriving in school! He is doing very well, thank God. He is smart, likes numbers and math. His reading skills are improving every day. Can you feel my pride?

    Anyway, ever since he began his special needs preschool at age 2.5, he has been suseptible to any and all infections going around. He is very skinny, even though he eats like a horse. When he gets sick, it usually hits him harder and for more days than other kids. My daughter is completely healthy, and she shakes off infections and illnesses much easier. So, my son tends to miss a lot of school. Mainly because when he gets sick, he usually requires several days to recover.

    I always make it a point to speak with the school nurse and his teachers at the beginning of the school year, so that they are aware of my son's situation. In January, I received a letter from the principal, making me aware that my son has missed more days than the average student for the school year. The letter was cc'd to lots of people (social worker, school psychologist, school nurse, teachers, etc). It made me feel awful, as if I am a horrible parent for keeping my sick son home when he needs it! I immediately composed my own letter in response and also cc'd it to anyone that was copied on the original letter. I explained my son's history and situation.

    So, now I am shaking in my boots. It is inevitable that my son will get sick and require some missed school days between now and June. I kept him home today with a fever and sore throat. Will I get more letters? Will I be reported? Am I worrying for nothing?

    Thanks for any input!
  2. Visit  Tina, RN profile page

    About Tina, RN

    Tina, RN has '17' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Acute Care, CM, School Nursing'. From 'NY'; 40 Years Old; Joined May '09; Posts: 490; Likes: 842.

    6 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  Flare profile page
    2
    I am glad to hear your son is thriving!
    If your doctor can document that your son has special medical needs - which may just be needing more recovery time from infections or more leeway for absences, your son may qualify for a 504 which is a plan put in place to address the academic needs of children with some for of disability - be it medical, developmental or otherwise. It may qualify your son for homebound instruction in case of an extended period of absence or allow for other interventions to be put in place.
    Talk to the school social worked and ensure they know the situation. And relax...
    smily nurse and Tina, RN like this.
  4. Visit  schoolnurse1001 profile page
    3
    That probably was just standard protocol for anyone who reaches a certain number of absences.
    I would recommend you speak with your guidance counselor about getting a 504 plan. That will cover
    him for extra absences as long as your dr. is willing to approve it.
    tewdles, smily nurse, and Tina, RN like this.
  5. Visit  mycsm profile page
    2
    Completely agree with a 504. It helps to alleviate some of the issues you are experiencing. Take a deep breath. The letters go out automatically when a child reached a certain number. Most schools are willing to do everything and anything it takes to get your son an education. Check into your options.
    smily nurse and Tina, RN like this.
  6. Visit  Tina, RN profile page
    0
    Thanks! I'll definitely look into a 504.
  7. Visit  BabyLady profile page
    1
    Quote from Tina, RN
    I'm wondering if I can get some opinions from school nurses out there...

    My son is 7 years old, in first grade. He was born at 29 weeks weighing 1.5 pounds. He was in NICU for 65 days. He had breathing issues, mechanical ventilation, tube feeds, infections, occipital bleeds, etc. He has mild CP and developmental delays. However, he is thriving in school! He is doing very well, thank God. He is smart, likes numbers and math. His reading skills are improving every day. Can you feel my pride?

    Anyway, ever since he began his special needs preschool at age 2.5, he has been suseptible to any and all infections going around. He is very skinny, even though he eats like a horse. When he gets sick, it usually hits him harder and for more days than other kids. My daughter is completely healthy, and she shakes off infections and illnesses much easier. So, my son tends to miss a lot of school. Mainly because when he gets sick, he usually requires several days to recover.

    I always make it a point to speak with the school nurse and his teachers at the beginning of the school year, so that they are aware of my son's situation. In January, I received a letter from the principal, making me aware that my son has missed more days than the average student for the school year. The letter was cc'd to lots of people (social worker, school psychologist, school nurse, teachers, etc). It made me feel awful, as if I am a horrible parent for keeping my sick son home when he needs it! I immediately composed my own letter in response and also cc'd it to anyone that was copied on the original letter. I explained my son's history and situation.

    So, now I am shaking in my boots. It is inevitable that my son will get sick and require some missed school days between now and June. I kept him home today with a fever and sore throat. Will I get more letters? Will I be reported? Am I worrying for nothing?

    Thanks for any input!
    Don't shake your boots because I am in the same boat.

    My answer to the principal? Your school policy has CREATED the problem, not me or my child.

    I have two children, one is stays sick no matter what you do. I cannot send her to school if she is vomiting. I cannot send her to school if she has diarrhea. I cannot send her to school if she has a headache.

    Both excused and unexcused absences are considered absences...in the end, it does not matter why your child missed.

    A parent cannot "call" their child out sick at my child's school unless you have a doctor's note.

    As nurses, we all know if you run your child Day #1 to the Pediatrician with a low-grade fever, the chances of you getting medication are pretty much zero...because the days of routine antibiotic prescription writing are O-V-E-R.

    So, if my child is still sick the afternoon of Day #2, THEN she goes to the Urgent Care or the Pediatrician and is treated appropriately.

    However, if they think that I am going to run that kid to the physician every time she sneezes and needs to miss school, they are crazy. I cannot afford it...not to mention from a medical standpoint, it is not necessary.
    Tina, RN likes this.
  8. Visit  smily nurse profile page
    0
    It is not so much a district policy, but a state policy. Administrators are obliged to send the letters notifying you of his attendance. Go for the 504. That said, as time passes, a student does need a certain attendance to pass to the next grade.


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