DEAR HARRIETTE: It seems like everybody in my house has come down with a cold or something. My son is barking like a dog, as my mother used to say. It seems like a regular cold, but I know he should rest. He is worried that he is going to miss an important test in school. He is also afraid that if he goes to school, he may end up getting other kids sick. He went in one day already, and a teacher wouldn’t let him in her classroom. How can I help him get well while still staying current in school? -- Sick Kid
DEAR SICK KID: As a parent, you need to step in as the voice of reason and authority. If your son is sick and potentially contagious, he should not go to school -- period.
You should take your son to the doctor to find out exactly what’s wrong with him and how you can support his healing. While it could just be a cold, you don’t know what he’s got. Get him evaluated, and request a medical note excusing him from school. You should also contact the school directly to let them know that your son has been ill, which is why you kept him out. Ask for makeup dates for any tests and extended deadlines for homework that occurred while he was out. Don’t send him back to school until he is well enough to go without making others ill.