DC Health Department Suggests Kids Still Go To School If They’re Vomiting Or Have Diarrhea

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Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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The D.C. Department of Health’s new guidance for public schools in Washington, D.C., recommends that kids do not stay home even with serious illness symptoms like fever, diarrhea or vomiting.

D.C. Public Schools’ (DCPS) guidance on preventing COVID-19 in schools for the upcoming school year recommends that kids do not attend school if they have at least one of a list of “red flag symptoms,” including a new or worsening cough, shortness of breath or a new loss of taste. However, students must have at least two of a list of other symptoms in order for DCPS to recommend they stay home, including vomiting, diarrhea, fever or a sore throat.

The document from DCPS outlining the policy says it is based on the Centers for Disease Control Guidance updated as of July, but it directly contradicts other recommendations made by the school district. On the DCPS website, under the section on reducing the spread of flu in schools, the district says kids should remain home until they are without fever for 24 hours. It further stated that kids shouldn’t attend school if they have other flu-like symptoms, including diarrhea, vomiting, body aches or a sore throat.

Some parents and other community members took to social media Friday morning to express their frustration with the guidance. “I think we’ve lost the plot,” tweeted The Intercept’s Rachel Cohen. “Covid aside, if you’re doing EITHER of those [vomiting or diarrhea], I think it’s a good idea to stay home. For both of us,” added another resident. (RELATED: It Turns Out Those Plastic Barriers Put Up To Stop COVID-19 May Actually Make It Easier To Spread)

DCPS did not respond to a request for comment in time for this publication.