Health Guidance and Resources for Families—Tips for Staying Healthy

Stay up to date on all vaccines

  • Vaccines are the best way to prevent your child from getting many illnesses and spreading them to others.
  • Many vaccines are required to attend school. Your child could be at risk for being sent home from school if they do not have the required vaccines.
  • Additional vaccines such as those for COVID-19, influenza, and HPV are highly recommended to protect children and others.
    • To find a COVID-19 or flu vaccination site, visit vaccinefinder.nyc.gov.
    • Make sure your child gets the updated COVID-19 vaccines when they become available in the early fall, even if they have had COVID-19 or previously been vaccinated
  • Please talk to your child’s health care provider if you have questions about vaccinations.

Stay Home When Sick

Rest can help you and your child get better sooner, and it helps prevent the spread of germs.

  • Children with diarrhea should stay home until the diarrhea has stopped (stools are formed).
  • Anyone with a fever should stay home until 24 hours after being fever free or until their doctor says it is okay to go back to school or daycare. They should stay home for at least 5 days if they are diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • If your child is having difficulty breathing, call your doctor right away.
  • Please note that based on your child's symptoms, your school nurse may determine your child must stay home for other reasons based on their professional judgement.
  • If your child has symptoms of COVID-19, please see guidance.
    • Get tested, if your child is positive, have them stay home and separate from others for at least 5 days, and talk to their health care provider about treatment. See more information on isolation.

Please call your school or school nurse to let them know if your child has a confirmed diagnosis of an illness that can spread to others.

  • Please note that based on your child's symptoms, your school nurse may determine your child must stay home for other reasons based on their professional judgement.

You can also help us avoid the spread of illness at your child’s school. Here are a few simple actions you can take to keep your child and other students healthy:

Consider wearing a mask, especially in a crowded indoor setting particularly if your child has a medical condition that puts them at risk for severe COVID-19, or if they are around others who are at increased risk for COVID-19, such as grandparents or other older adults.

  • Masks are an important layer of protection to stop the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.
    • Always wear a mask when sick and unable to separate from others, and, if you have COVID-19, for 10 days after your symptoms began (or 10 days after you test positive for COVID-19, if you have no symptoms.) See additional information about isolation for COVID-19
    • Always wear a mask for 10 days after being exposed to someone who has COVID-19. See guidance on what to do following a COVID-19 exposure.
    • Masks will also be required when entering the school medical room when the nurse suspects the student has respiratory symptoms
    • Wear a high-quality mask, such as a KN95, KF94 or N95 for the best protection from COVID-19.

Cover Your Cough

Use a tissue to cover coughs and sneezes.  If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze, or cough into your sleeve, not your hands. Teach your child to cover up their coughs too!

Wash Hands Often

Washing your hands with soap and water stops the spread of germs. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer. You and your child should always wash hands before...

  • coming into contact with small children
  • touching food
  • eating

…and after...

  • u sing the bathroom
  • helping your child use the toilet
  • wiping your nose or your child’s nose
  • coughing or sneezing
  • changing a diaper

See a Health Care Provider Regularly

If your child has a chronic condition, they may need to see their health care provider more often. The health care provider will manage your child’s condition with a treatment plan. This can reduce your child’s symptoms and lower the chance of an emergency room visit. Schools also offer services that can support an outside health care provider’s care. Learn about services at school for students with conditions like asthma, allergies, and diabetes.

If you don’t have a health care provider, call 311 or the 24-hour Contact Center for NYC Health and Hospitals (H+H) at 844-NYC-4NYC to be connected to care. Care is available in NYC regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. Find a Health Center.

Health Insurance

Children with health insurance are more likely to have a regular health care provider and get the health care services they need.

Health insurance helps with the cost of health care provider visits and prescribed medicine. Make sure you and your family are covered. Almost all NYC children can get Child Health Plus health insurance for free or at a low cost. Your child may also be able to get insurance through your job, Medicaid, or the NY State of Health Marketplace.

  • Your school can help you and your family explore options and sign up for health insurance. Reach out to the Parent Coordinator at your school to get connected to an insurance navigator.
  • You can also enroll online through the NY State Health Marketplace, or call their help line: 1-855-355-5777.
  • Students and their families who qualify for Child Health Plus, Medicaid or the Essential Plan can sign up for insurance all year long.

For answers to frequently asked health insurance questions, read Get Covered NYC! More information on free and low-cost insurance options are available.