Missing School Because of Asthma

Did you know that it's not that uncommon to miss school because of asthma? In fact, asthma is the number one cause of missed school days.

Missing school with asthma

There can be a lot of reasons for missing school - your child’s asthma is flaring up again and they are in their yellow zone for asthma control, or they are sick with bronchitis or pneumonia (again), or they may even be in the hospital for asthma.

When my kids were growing up, they missed a LOT of school days. Our school district has a policy that students can’t miss a certain number of days per term. Sometimes, my son (with severe asthma) would miss more than the allotted number of days.

It didn't matter if I sent a note to school that my son was sick and that we were at home using the nebulizer because he needed breathing treatments every four hours. The principal wanted my son at school and in class. So, the asthma specialist would have to write a letter to the principal saying that my son had severe asthma, and even with close monitoring and treatment, he may always exceed the "missed school days allowance."

Catching an illness

One year in junior high, my son was struggling all winter and couldn't seem to get his peak flow meter into his green zone. His lungs just weren't happy, and then he caught pneumonia (again) and ended up in the hospital (again.) After each hospitalization, the asthma doctor would tell me to keep our son home from school for a week to rest and recover. Even after a week of resting, he wasn't getting better and was still struggling to get into the green zone of his peak flow meter.

Missing more than a few days of school

My son tried going back to school, but he just didn't feel well. The asthma doc said, "There's no way he's going to recover when he's in a junior high surrounded by 1200 students, so I think you should take your son out of school for a month."

I looked at him in shock because that sounded drastic. But - it made sense. If you have ever helped in your kid's classrooms, you have probably seen how kids don't have the best handwashing habits - especially after picking their noses, wiping their noses on their sleeves, and sneezing into their hands.

The asthma doc said keeping our son home would allow him to rest and recover. It would help prevent his body from being on high alert trying to fight off germs from the other 1200 kids in junior high.

I had no idea where to start, so I dropped by the school and met with the principal. He explained that I would have to fill out paperwork and then a teacher from the school would come to our house after school let out for the day and tutor our son. They would transport assignments back to his class and get new assignments.

The principal told us that if he needed to stay home longer than a month, it would have to be managed at the district level and they would have to send a tutor. The principal said that’s not that uncommon for kids in car accidents, receiving cancer treatments, etc to have to miss more than a month of school.

Who knew?

After a month of staying home with me, he was pretty bored and ready to go back to school. He had kept up on all of his assignments and was finally feeling stronger. So, he headed back to school and managed to stay healthy for the rest of the school year.

Has anyone else had to pull their kids out of school to let them recover? And to protect them from all of the other kid's germs in the school?

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