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Parents sending their kids to school with coughs

69 replies

Brownbananabandana · 10/09/2020 09:54

Our kids have been back at school for a week. We missed the induction day the week before they went back as one came home from childcare with a cough so we took them both out of childcare and got the child with the cough tested (which was not pleasant... they’re 5), waited for the negative result before we sent them back to childcare. We thought that’s what we were supposed to do as responsible adults and parents, meant I had a shit couple of days working from home as I’ve just started a new contract and it was really stressful, but surely that was the only sensible option?

Roll on this week though and twice already I’ve personally experienced parents in my childrens schools sending primary aged kids in with coughs. One child the parent actually told me in the playground after drop off that her child had a cough ‘but it didn’t seem that bad’. Another child today in the playground when I said good morning and asked how she was blurted out ‘I’ve got a cough’.... which isn’t a normal thing for a child to announce and smacks to me of a discussion having been had at home and a decision being made to send them regardless. I’m seriously not impressed, I know it’s tough having to keep them home, and before anyone jumps in with excuses for the parents, I know both sets. The first child’s parent wasn’t working on the day they sent them in with a cough, they told me! And the second child was being dropped in by a grandparent so could have stayed with the grandparent... they’d already picked them up and sat in the car with them etc! And if the parents were too concerned to let a grandparent look after them for fear of them catching covid then surely they shouldn’t be in school potentially passing it on anyway, so take the bloody day off and get the test!

How are we meant to control this if people blatantly don’t want to be personally inconvenienced?

And yes I’ve name changed as I don’t want outed... I’m fully prepared to be flames for judging, but I am judging! I don’t want to be stuck at home in the middle of a massive new project with kids who’ve picked up endless bugs because of other people’s selfish actions.

OP posts:
hippohector · 10/09/2020 10:24

I think you should raise your concerns directly with the school. They will not want children with possible Covid symptoms attending school.
I’d be amazed if the teacher hadn’t already noticed and flagged it up with the parents already tbh. At our school, any child showing classic Covid symptoms are sent home with the recommendation of getting a test. Obviously a negative result will mean they can come back to school however, if the parent refuses to get the child tested then they should not be allowed back in school for 14 days.

Brownbananabandana · 10/09/2020 10:36

Thanks hippohector, I think I will email the head teacher and raise concerns. She’ll probably send out a newsletter and it won’t have much effect... the hardest hitting action would be for the teachers to send kids home if they’re coughing, then there’s be no point in parents sending them in without a negative test as they’d know they’d just have to come and collect them later anyway. But it shouldn’t be on the school to do that, and the damage potentially would be done by that point already. It’s just so short sighted for anyone to send a child in with symptoms

OP posts:
borntohula · 10/09/2020 11:23

Not had to deal with this (yet) but part of me can see where they're coming from given that most of our DC have had coughs and colds every single year since birth...

PaperMonster · 10/09/2020 11:34

My daughter coughs continuously from October through to March. Unless she has other symptoms, it’s pointless keeping her off!

StillCounting123 · 10/09/2020 11:38

Kids get colds and coughs, not a new phenomenon and you have no idea who has had a Covid negative result recently.

I have a child with asthma and she coughs constantly. Would be very unimpressed with her being sent home every week.

Gooseygoosey12345 · 10/09/2020 11:39

I can't help but agree. My DS has a cough, it's phlegmy and a side effect of a cold (not the dry, persistent Covid cough), he has no other symptoms and I'm certain it's not Covid but I've kept him off anyway. Rather be safe that sorry, and if his immune system is a bit low it'd make him more susceptible so it's self-preservation too!

Lockdownseperation · 10/09/2020 11:44

Raise it with the head and ask to see their covid risk assessment and look to see what it says about kids becoming ill during the day. It will probably say contact home for immediate collection if a child displays covid symptoms. Then if it happens again and the child is not sent home complain to the head, if it happens a second time complain to the governs and LEA

Gramgram · 10/09/2020 11:51

I think the time has come where if your child is ill with any type of illness, he or she should stay at home regardless of how inconvenient it is, or the schools attendance records. Same goes for the workplace, those adverts for flu should stop implying that if you take them you're fine to go to work. Spreading infections has to become anti social.

Leafy12 · 10/09/2020 11:52

I agree, contact the head if you are concerned. Do we really want to be at school silently judging every parent each time a child sneezes or coughs though? We have a long winter ahead if so, and lots of silent rage as well.

Tootletum · 10/09/2020 11:55

My son had a cough Monday morning, so I kept him home, but it didn't occur to me to keep the healthy one home as well. Of course I had to then go and collect him and get them both tested against govt guidelines. It will be very disruptive, as one of them has asthma, so a cough is basically standard all winter. Ah well. Good thing I'm out of a job I guess.

MrsMcMuffins · 10/09/2020 11:56

My DS would never be in school if he could not go when coughing. He gets a lot of colds.

Tootletum · 10/09/2020 11:57

@Gooseygoosey12345 the issue there is you're sure it's a cold, but if he's at school, they make zero distinction between types or causes of cough and will force you to get a test or keep him off for 2 weeks, not just until he feels better. The guidelines are very vague, I don't blame schools.

Lockdownseperation · 10/09/2020 11:58


My DS would never be in school if he could not go when coughing. He gets a lot of colds.

Then you follow the rules and keep him off until he has a test. The rules are incredibly simple, clear and have been in place for months.

Yes they are a PITA. We are waiting results at moment but it’s what people need to do.
toiletpaper · 10/09/2020 12:07

My son had a cold on Monday so he was off school as he wasn't well, didn't think it was covid related. He's since developed a nasty cough and I had bit of a temp the other night so we're all off now after having covid tests yesterday, now awaiting results. If his cough was less bad I'd still send him to school as he always has a cough after having a cold but it's really dry and continuous this time so best to be safe.

I understand where you're coming from OP but if kids were off school every time they had a cough nobody would be in school over this winter at all.

MrsMcMuffins · 10/09/2020 12:10

@Lockdownseperation don’t be ridiculous. No one is going to test their snotty kids on a weekly basis.

sunnysidegold · 10/09/2020 12:12

My children have a nasty cold and I'm getting it too. One sniffs constantly and so coughs after that. He is coughing for a few seconds every so often with long periods of nothing in between. They are off school and are having tests this afternoon.

I'm pretty sure it's just a side effect of our colds - we have sore throats and sore ears too.

For those children who normally cough though, you can hardly keep them off school long term.

I think there should be more information on what a vivid cough sounds like. I've seen two NHS pages which describe it as epsidoes of "coughing a lot" and "more than an hour". I want to know how many is a lot.

Gooseygoosey12345 · 10/09/2020 12:13

@Tootletum no I don't blame the schools one bit either! It must be so difficult for them, and I can only imagine they'll be getting backlash for asking people to keep their kids at home for 2 weeks if they can't get a test.
It's also part of the reason I've kept him off, I don't want to waste a test that could be used for someone who does have symptoms when we're sure he doesn't have it

Brownbananabandana · 10/09/2020 12:13

I understand where you're coming from OP but if kids were off school every time they had a cough nobody would be in school over this winter at all.

See I disagree.. if people keep sending their kids in with coughs then other kids will catch them, some of the time it might not be covid... some of the time it will and if infection rates rise, as they are doing already, but specifically if they rise rapidly in schools then the schools will be closed again... maybe only locally for local breakouts but everyone who’s selfishly sending their kids on with ‘just a cough’ will end up stuck at home with their kids and shut schools for undefined periods of time... wouldn’t you rather just get a test keep your kid home for a couple of day here and there while waiting on results? It’s so short sighted I just don’t understand the reasoning. Yes it’s shit, but we’re in the midst of a global pandemic ffs

OP posts:
MillieEpple · 10/09/2020 12:16

Problem is many coughs linger long after someone stopped being infectious and the person feels quite well. Even if you have a positive covid test you can go back after the infectious bit with a cough!

I just hope it becomes standard to have time off during the infections bit of coughs and colds. Is that 5 days?

PineappleUpsideDownCake · 10/09/2020 12:16

I thinj ours are being told they'll be sent home for a cough.

Of course even if its a "cold" as thats the point. With it being less wvere in kids wbo knows if its a cold or covid 🤷‍♀️.

Id be cross of parents were sneding lids with coughs in. Defeats the whole object.

If they pass covid by the time a child has a test it will have spread to multiple families.

PineappleUpsideDownCake · 10/09/2020 12:17

I think this year it will make sense to keep kids home for "just a cold" as we dont want colds spreading either as then others will have coughing symptoms that need to be tested.

Yellowbutterfly1 · 10/09/2020 12:17

The NHS website states a symptom is a new, continuous cough.
This means coughing a lot more for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours.

Maybe their child’s cough doesn’t match the symptom given by the NHS


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SqidgeBum · 10/09/2020 12:18

Our school has a policy of 'cough and temperature' rather than just a cough. A child with a cough is fine to come in according to the decision makers (post primary).

AuntImmortelle · 10/09/2020 12:18

Well unfortunately if your child develops a cough you CANNOT get them tested for love nor money at the moment. Therefore the expectation is you and your family will then have to isolate for 14 days.

I had one DC who had a cold - so runny nose and sore throat. Didn't qualify for a covid test as not one of the main symptoms. She now has a slightly phlegmy cough a couple of days later and still snotty. I was able to get her a test a mere 3 hr 14 min drive away in Telford (I live in London). So older DC would be required to stay off school too (secondary) and miss their first 2 weeks; youngest miss two weeks of primary (after a mere 6 months off after all) and DH and I all stay home and have everything delivered.

I am 99% sure DC just had a cold. But cannot be 100% sure of course, as couldn't access a test AT ALL. What is the alternative? Stay home en masse for 14 days every time? This just isn't sustainable. But at least my DC's school was pragmatic enough to realise this.

BTW the Scottish government says children with cold symptoms should stay in school so we used that as guidance - before all the judgmental sorts pile on.

You should be directing your anger at the shit mess this government has allowed, rather than parents who are struggling and juggling.

ChocolateCoffeeCake · 10/09/2020 12:19

Kids always have coughs. I think if you have a cough and other symptoms then yes, get a test/keep them off. If every parent kept their child off when they had a cough, no one would be in work! Parents have to take leave or grandparents end up at the short end of the stick.
I do feel that temperature checks should happen on entry to school (and every public place tbh).

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