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Chicken Pox - My son has been excused from school

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

New to forum and have learned lots so thanks to all the respectful posters here.


I have a situation currently that I am not sure how to handle. I have three sons. 6 year old son, 6 year old step-son and a 3 year old step-son. My son was not vaccinated for pox. 6 year old step-son was. 3 year old was not and came down with pox with a fever starting last Sunday December 1st. (he's doing just fine BTW). Anyway, I made the mistake of telling the school when dropping off the two 6 year olds on Monday that their younger brother had pox. Later that morning my wife got a call from the principle and he was somewhat condescending and asking what were we thinking sending our non-vaccinated son to school having been exposed to pox. He was not sick or showing any signs so we thought nothing of it but thought it would be good to at least advise the school. He went to school on Tuesday and at days end the principle called and said that he was not to return to school until the 19th!! So he goes back for 1.5 days and then it's Christmas break. I called health dept and they were aware of the situation but told me that since there was no outbreak at school that they couldn't do anything such as send kids home. I called the priciple back and he told me that they had "advised" him that it wouldn't be a bad idea and that he also consulted the schools attorney on the matter!! What the heck!!?? So I don't know what to do. We can't afford to miss all this work as we're taking vacation over the upcoming holidays. This is nuts and I really don't know what to do. HELP!!


BTW, we are in Michigan and our son attends a charter school (if any of that matters).


Thank you,


post #2 of 11

Dadwhocares, my childcare, and my children's schools, have the right to exclude children who are ill, or who are unvaxxed and have known exposure to certain illnesses.  ANd to say when they can come back.  It's in the parent agreements we sign at the beginning of the year.


Someone has to be home with your 3 yo until all his pox scab over anyway, and there is a solid chance your older boy will get CP as well - he is a household contact of his younger brother, this is a contagious illness, and it starts being contagious about 24 hours before symptoms appear.  I'm so sorry about the financial hit right at the holiday season.  What do your backup childcare options look like?

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

We are still sorting through all this mess in terms of how to handle childcare. We've already spent this week off for the 3 year old. Now because I opened my mouth we have the rest of the year to deal with. I will never share anything with the school again. We are looking at having him tested for the antibody though as they said he could have it and if so would be allowed back to school. Of course they also suggested having the vaccine, which is not an option for us at all. If this were a more serious ailment I could certainly understand but chicken pox is not that big of a deal. They sent letters home to the other kids but are allowing them to stay in school, even the non-vaccinated ones. That makes no sense to me. 


The 3 year old is already crusted and has no fever. He's fine and it's over. Like I said, no big deal. He'd be going back to daycare tomorrow but guess he's stay home with the 6 year old.  

post #4 of 11
You're running into exactly the reason why the authorities push CP vax (at least, the reason on paper) - the lost work time is a serious financial problem. Although, fwiw, CP is a pretty big deal for my family. Last year, I was having chemo (so much for that lifelong immunity from sixth grade), and this year we have pregnant people. Still, I'd be at about the same risk taking the kids to the grocery store as I'd be at sending them to school.

Are you near family who could take the kiddo for a day? My daycare charges whether or not my kid is present, so I'd be tempted to send the 3 yo to daycare and do some things with 6, like clean house for the holidays. Also, it may be easier to find someone who can take the one older kid for the day then it is to find someone to take both.

I know what you mean about not telling the school this stuff. When my oldest was little, I got us bounced from daycare for a week because I said the word norovirus. I feel bad sometimes, because I know my kid sometimes goes to school as a disease vector, but unless I have specific instructions from the pediatrician, I don't talk to the school about illness. If they wete home, they had sniffles, or tummy bugs, or "seemed under the weather."
post #5 of 11

Can you post in your state forum and see if anyone would take your possibly cp-ey kid? OMG, if you lived near, I'd take em! But my own kid is sick right now (not with cp :(  but I wouldn't want to share it with anyone). 


Good luck! :)

post #6 of 11

Public schools have to follow state law on this matter. The health department is the one that decides to exclude unvaccinated kids during outbreaks. The school principal does not have that authority. The attorney will probably tell him that. I'd continue sending my kid to school, and check his body daily for the very beginning signs of pox, at which time I'd take him out of school. My kids' first pox started on their backs, so be sure to check there.

post #7 of 11


post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

According to the release we signed to enroll in school they can remove an unvaccinated student "if the local or state public health authority advises exclusion as a disease control measure." With that said, and as I mentioned, I spoke directly to the county health department and was told that they did not tell the school to keep my son home. So I have now requested that the school provide a letter stating such from the health department and gave them until the end of the day Friday (tomorrow) to do so or my son would be returning to school on Monday. Providing of course he shows no signs of illness. After I sent that email to the principle I waited to see if he would respond (nothing yet) and then once again contacted the county health department as the nice lady there was to get back to me and hadn't since Tuesday. We spoke briefly and she was aware of my request to the school. Said it was way over her head and has now been sent to the state health dept to figure out what to do. She once again reiterated that they HAD NOT advised the school to exclude my son from school. I told her that this opens up a real can of worms. If the illness was the flu (which there is a vaccine for, right?) would we be obligated to keep all our kids home? I've also discussed this matter with a local attorney. He suggested requesting the letter and doing so in writing. So now I wait to see what happens tomorrow. 

post #9 of 11

I'm with ma2two - I' watch for the fever, lethargic, loss of appetite and in a day or two, if he's got it, you should start seeing pox and can pull him from school at the start of symptoms.  Incubation period can take as long as 21 days from exposure, so if your little guy was poxy on the 1st, it could possibly take as long as til the 22nd before the others even come down with it and become contagious. And at that point you're looking at christmas break and they'd be clear by the time schools back in January.  Also, I did phrase it as others to include both older boys because it seems a bit presumptuous, if not ignorant, of the school/health department to say the non-vaxed kid can't come in, but it's ok for the vaxxed kid to attend school because there is no possible way living in the same home he will come down with pox nor can he possibly spread it to others...major sarcasm there.


Basically their recommendation is crap, because 19 days doesn't even cover the full incubation period never mind the duration of the disease.  If they really wanted to "go by the numbers" they'd have to recommend something like 22 days with no initial signs of illness on that 22nd day. We're not even in school yet with our LO and I already dread it!  Mum is definitely the word when talking sickness to anyone at school. Good luck.

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

Wondering too what happens in say March if a student actually brings it to school. Will we be excluded again for the incubation period? Provided of course he doesn't get a confirmed case at this point.

post #11 of 11
Originally Posted by Dadwhocares View Post

Wondering too what happens in say March if a student actually brings it to school. Will we be excluded again for the incubation period? Provided of course he doesn't get a confirmed case at this point.


It's up to the health department. One case in a school isn't necessarily an "outbreak."


But yes, if the health department steps in and says it is an outbreak, they would exclude your son if he doesn't have proof of a history of chickenpox, or lab results showing immunity.

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