Doctor’s Notes For School, Work, and More

by Dr. Lyndsey Garbi | December 8, 2020
doctor's note Doctors Note Staying Home

The dreaded words: “Your child will need a doctor’s note to return.”  The one sentence means so much time, stress, and effort!

For a lot of families, this also means taking time off work to get your child from school and then head over to the doctor’s office. Add on top of that a child who hates going to the doctor and being examined, the whole ordeal can be super difficult!

What is a Doctor’s Note?

Doctors help to provide clarity when it comes to children’s health needs outside of home. Pediatricians write notes for many reasons and usually are quite helpful to ensure all institutions, such as schools, sports teams, and even adult work places get the information and guidance they need.

What Are the Types of Doctor’s Notes?

Back to School Doctor’s Note – Though teachers and school administrators know about kids better than most other people, they are not medical professionals. They take their jobs very seriously to protect everyone to their best ability and that means soliciting help from other sources to help them make the best decisions in order to maintain the greater good for the school and kids in it. It may be frustrating if you are the family needing to get the doctor’s note, but if the situation is flipped, it gives peace of mind to know that a child who is contagious will not be allowed in contact with your child until she poses less of a risk.

Routine School Forms – Usually to enter a school year, you’ll need to submit paperwork about the health and immunizations of your child. All schools will want to ensure immunizations are up to date to keep preventable diseases from infecting the kids. They will also likely require basic information, such as significant medical events in the past, chronic illnesses that they should be aware of when your child is in their care, allergies, and medications your child may be taking. Make sure you ask for this paperwork a few weeks before it is due for kids to start school. As you would imagine, all the children who attend your office will need the same thing so it will take time.

Return to Play  – Another type of doctor’s note is for “return to play.” If your child hurts herself during a sports game, such as bangs her head causing a concussion, the school or sports team may want medical clearance before your child jumps back to play. To you and most definitely to your child, this may seem like overkill if she is acting just fine and feels no pain, but there is good reason to require these notes because repeat injury to the head could be a serious problem. If a child is diagnosed with mononucleosis (also known as “mono”), he may also require a note to go back because there is a risk of liver damage if there is trauma to the liver when a child is infected with mono. There are also new parameters being created for a return to play note after covid, because some children are showing a cardiac disease weeks later after having the virus that may put them at risk for a complication when doing vigorous exercise. A return to play doctor’s note usually requires a physical exam in the doctor’s office to ensure there are no physical findings that would be reason to hold off on sports.

Usage of Medication in School – If your child needs to use a medication while in school, the doctor will have to write a note or use a template of a note provided by the school about the medication. Included in the doctor’s note is the name and type of medication, how to use it, when it should be used, and how often it needs to be used. This helps the school to ensure it is being administered properly.

No Play Note – If your child has a condition, such as mono, that makes participation in a particular activity dangerous, you can get a doctor’s note allowing from exemption from the activity. They can also write a note with certain parameters for what your child can and can not do, so that they are able to still participate in some activities.

Note for Special Services – If your child qualifies for services, such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, or physical therapy you can get a doctor’s note or a script for the services. Usually this process is much more involved requiring an evaluation for the services and a school district’s approval, but the doctor can help you to get the process started and move it along.

Notes for Parents – Did you know that the pediatrician can write you a doctor’s note as well?! If you need proof to your job that your child requires you to be home with them, her pediatrician can help validate your absence from work. Make sure you make your needs known to the doctor. Whether your job accepts the note is another issue, but writing the doctor’s note to help you out is quite simple for the pediatrician and usually we are very happy to do whatever we can to help you take the best care of your children possible.

School Notes During COVID

These are tricky. Each doctor and each school has their own policy for when to allow kids to get back to school and what they require in the doctor’s note. Some factors to consider are:

  • Schools may want a concrete diagnoses, proven by lab tests, such as a respiratory viral panel.
  • Other schools may be okay without that diagnosis, but may want a COVID test to prove it is not COVID.
  • The infectivity rates will also change this management.
  • COVID tests are more likely to be needed in a location where the virus has a higher infectivity rate.
  • A higher level of suspicion for coronavirus needs to be taken when a child has symptoms that may be corona or may very well be something else. For more details on this, see our other blog post that talks specifically about a doctor’s note for COVID.
  • Return to play notes for athletics are also now sometimes required for certain ages due to the later complications COVID is now known to cause

Get A Doctor’s Note From Blueberry

We are here to help make your lives easier. When a Pediatrician from Blueberry makes a diagnosis via our telehealth platform, we can write a doctor’s note on our letterhead with the doctor’s signature explicitly saying when your child can return to school. Your child’s health information is private so we only include the information that is required for acceptance of the note. We are also happy to take advice from you as to what you need it to include based on school protocols. This means you don’t have to leave your home and you can get everything you need.  When stress is high and things are not easy, we are here to make them easier!