Parents struggle to juggle sick kids, jobs

From Cincinnati Enquirer:

Batavia School District Nurse Cathy Meyer often finds herself tangling with parents over sending their kids to school sick.

And the students don’t just have the sniffles.

One day last month, three kids were vomiting as they got off the school bus.

When she confronts parents about sending kids who are sick, she learns the truth:

The uncertain economic climate has resulted in more kids coming to school ill, because their parents fear losing their jobs if they stay home with their kids.

“It’s a genuine fear, and I understand it.” Meyer said. “If they lose their job, they might not get another one.”

“I’ve had parents drop their kids off and tell me that their child was running a fever, so they gave them Tylenol because they just can’t miss work. It’s a common occurrence,” said Sharyl Iden, nurse for the Southgate Independent School District and president of the Kentucky School Nurses Association.

While they sympathizes, they continue to send letters home with all students, reiterating the policy: Students cannot return to school until they’re free of fever, vomiting or diarrhea for 24 hours.

“We have to protect everybody,” Meyer said.

Sending sick kids to school or child care centers isn’t a new issue but while no one keeps statistics, the anecdotal consensus is that it’s happening more often now because of the economy.

Staying home to care for a sick child is not an option for the more than 40 million working people who don’t have sick leave, paid or unpaid, for themselves or to care for a child. In a tough economy, some parents who are allowed time off fear that taking the time will make them a target when layoff decisions are made.

Read more from the Cincinnati Enquirer »

Published by waworkfam

The Washington Work and Family Coalition includes representatives of seniors, women, labor, health professionals, children’s advocates, faith communities, low income workers, employers, non-profits and other organizations. We’re working together to make it easier for parents to raise healthy children and care for aging parents; for workers to care for themselves or their partners in the event of a serious illness; and for businesses to offer modern workplace standards that improve productivity and worker health.

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