Staying Healthy

Our schools work hard to avoid the spread of illnesses at school. This is one of the reasons students are required to get certain vaccines before starting school for the first time.

If any illness, including environmental and food-borne, is suspected of spreading through your child’s school, the school will immediately contact the Office of School Health. The Office will investigate and update the school community and parents of the situation as needed.


Tips for Staying Healthy

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:

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 their coughs too!

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.
  • Children with breathing problems should stay home until the cough is gone.
    • If your child is having difficulty breathing, call your doctor right away.

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:


  • Coming into contact with small children
  • Touching food
  • Eating


  • Using the bathroom
  • Helping your child use the toilet
  • Wiping your nose or your child’s nose
  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Changing a diaper

Health Insurance

Children with health insurance are more likely to have a regular health care provider and get the health care services they need. Make sure your child has health insurance and visits the health care provider every year.

Sign Up for Health Insurance

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.

How to enroll

  • 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.

When to enroll

Students and their families who qualify for Child Health Plus, Medicaid or the Essential Plan can sign up for insurance all year long. The NY State of Health has implemented a COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period for private health insurance to September 15, 2020. After September 15, 2020, those who do not qualify for those plans should sign up during 2020's open enrollment period (November 1 – January 31). You can also enroll in health insurance outside of this time window if you experience a major life change . Some examples include changing jobs, getting married or separated, or having a child.

Additional Resources

For answers to frequently asked health insurance questions, read Get Covered NYC!.1NYC also gives more information on free and low-cost insurance options.

See a Health Care Provider Regularly

Growing children need a check-up every year, even when they are healthy. Annual check-ups can help catch and stop any health problems before they get worse.

They are also the best way to fulfill requirements for starting school. Learn more about vaccine requirements.

If your child has a chronic condition, they may need to see the 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 lowers 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.