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Re: Parent issue
chasingrainbows #2582384 10/28/16 12:59 PM
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People define "sick" in very different ways. Runny nose usually does not prevent kids from going to school (otherwise you could imagine kids missing school half the time in winter). At work we always see colleagues showing up with coughs or runny nose or sneezes. School districts usually have a list of symptoms that should qualify kids as "sick" and have very clear guidelines about when children can return to school after being sick. For example, a child who has a fever over a certain degree should not go to school, and can return to school only after a 24-hour period with no fever. You can adopt such guidelines or modify it any way you want, and ask that parents adhere to it when they sign up their children. The conflict in this kid's situation is not that parents don't want to follow your sickness policy, it's most likely a difference in defining what is "sick".

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Re: Parent issue
childofparadise2002 #2582436 10/28/16 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by childofparadise2002
People define "sick" in very different ways. Runny nose usually does not prevent kids from going to school (otherwise you could imagine kids missing school half the time in winter). At work we always see colleagues showing up with coughs or runny nose or sneezes. School districts usually have a list of symptoms that should qualify kids as "sick" and have very clear guidelines about when children can return to school after being sick. For example, a child who has a fever over a certain degree should not go to school, and can return to school only after a 24-hour period with no fever. You can adopt such guidelines or modify it any way you want, and ask that parents adhere to it when they sign up their children. The conflict in this kid's situation is not that parents don't want to follow your sickness policy, it's most likely a difference in defining what is "sick".


My written policy that they received and signed is very specific about MY criteria for keeping a student home. I don't feel there was any excuse for them to send him, especially when he told me that he told them he should stay home because he was sick. If a 7 year old knows my policy, what example does that set for parents to disregard my policy?


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Re: Parent issue
chasingrainbows #2582448 10/28/16 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
Originally Posted by childofparadise2002
People define "sick" in very different ways. Runny nose usually does not prevent kids from going to school (otherwise you could imagine kids missing school half the time in winter). At work we always see colleagues showing up with coughs or runny nose or sneezes. School districts usually have a list of symptoms that should qualify kids as "sick" and have very clear guidelines about when children can return to school after being sick. For example, a child who has a fever over a certain degree should not go to school, and can return to school only after a 24-hour period with no fever. You can adopt such guidelines or modify it any way you want, and ask that parents adhere to it when they sign up their children. The conflict in this kid's situation is not that parents don't want to follow your sickness policy, it's most likely a difference in defining what is "sick".


My written policy that they received and signed is very specific about MY criteria for keeping a student home. I don't feel there was any excuse for them to send him, especially when he told me that he told them he should stay home because he was sick. If a 7 year old knows my policy, what example does that set for parents to disregard my policy?


Well, dismiss them if you want and can afford to. It's your policy and you have to decide how to enforce it. However, I always think that when there is a new relationship, toes get stepped on no matter how clear you think you were. A little grace goes a long way, and since you liked the kid, what's the harm in waiting until the 2nd time it comes up to see how they respond, now knowing how seriously/to the letter you take your policy?


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Re: Parent issue
chasingrainbows #2582467 10/28/16 05:56 PM
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I would say this is a warning to the parents, and next time you won't teach the lesson. Maybe I'm too good at making excuses for other people, but it could be that the child was sicker than the parent thought he was based on how he was when he left for school at the beginning of the day.


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Re: Parent issue
chasingrainbows #2582480 10/28/16 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
I don't understand the need for people to judge or tell me to find another job.


People are naturally going to judge your sick policy either in your favor or not, because that is the subject of this post.

I feel a strict sick policy is unrealistic. Germs are everywhere. You don't believe it's unrealistic. It may help to have very long discussions with all parents about the way other kids' illnesses can lead to serious upper respiratory infections for you. But like Morodiene says, it's a process of educating them.







Re: Parent issue
chasingrainbows #2582488 10/28/16 08:22 PM
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Sorry chasingrainbows, I missed the part where the parents left and you couldn't reach them.
I agree with letting the kid lie down and not giving a lesson in that case... lets you stick to your stated policy and keeps the kid off your piano!

Last edited by hreichgott; 10/28/16 08:23 PM.

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Re: Parent issue
chasingrainbows #2582510 10/28/16 10:18 PM
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Yes, germs are everywhere, but there are more on sick kids! In my last desk job at an employer (at General Electric), we were periodically reminded that it is better to stay home when sick than to bring it to work and get everyone else sick. The big companies also realize they lose money.

I've seen many sick policies that resemble yours when researching writing a good policy. I beefed up my own policy after getting the flu last year from teaching at the home of kids hadn't even gone to school for a couple days.



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Re: Parent issue
chasingrainbows #2582526 10/29/16 01:14 AM
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I think I would echo others in giving the student a second chance, especially since you like the student.

Sometimes in a new relationship, there is some testing of where those boundaries actually are. Like they might be like, do you REALLY mean what you said? Now that they know that you were unhappy, hopefully they will respect that and not do it again. I think as Morodiene said, it is easy to take offense when there is no need.

If it happens again, I'd do what TheoryGrl said if you really want to stick by your policy.

Last edited by hello my name is; 10/29/16 01:14 AM.

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Re: Parent issue
chasingrainbows #2582593 10/29/16 09:43 AM
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I had a similar experience this week. I have a written policy regarding keeping sick children home. I've had myself and my whole family get very ill from sick students in the past and can't afford the income loss. I take good care of myself and I know some illness is unavoidable, but I prefer not to unnecessarily expose myself to harm. A kid came to his lesson with the sniffles and slight cough. He told me he had been sent home from school with a fever and had skipped his sports class before coming to his lesson. I sent home a reminder note. It turned out the student wasn't truly sick at all. He suffers from fall allergies and has been using them to his advantage to get out of school frequently. Things aren't always what they seem. I would give them the benefit of the doubt and give them one more chance.


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Re: Parent issue
chasingrainbows #2582749 10/29/16 08:23 PM
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clarikeys, I am in the same situation. When the parent picked the child up, I addressed it, and that was the opportunity to tell me he has allergies. I did ask the child if he had allergies and he said no. Parent only said, "we sent him to school." I will give them another opportunity, but if he comes to a lesson sick, he will have to sit outside the room until they come pick him up, and I will remove them from my schedule. I don't need the hassle.


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Re: Parent issue
chasingrainbows #2582832 10/30/16 06:49 AM
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This is a very good example as what I mentioned in my thread about the teacher/student lesson/scheduling relationship. And since that thread, I've had a few more instances of this unfairness! If the teacher gets sick, who is it to say that it was a sniffling child's fault? Does the teacher not go to the grocery store, gas station, coffee shop, post office?? Is the only thing a piano teacher touches throughout an entire day is the piano a child plays on--and that's it? I don't think so!

Also, if a child has to miss school because of "sniffles", that puts a parent in a bad situation. Missed work, missed time, possible "unexcused absence" from schools since it was "just sniffles".

Teachers really need to stop acting this way.

Re: Parent issue
JazzyMac #2582854 10/30/16 09:15 AM
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In case anyone's interested, here are my tips on how to catch the sniffles wink :

1) Kiss everyone you meet on the cheek. Even better, both cheeks - especially your own children. Especially after they return from school. Especially if they have the sniffles (or feeling 'under the weather' or have fever - heralding the start of a viral infection), or been with friends who have them (which means - at any time). Even better, on the lips.

2) Be a touch-feely sort of person. Touch everyone. Shake hands with everyone, friend or foe. Then rub your eyes, nose & mouth. Let everyone touch you, especially on the face. Touch doorknobs and handles etc frequently, and touch your face afterwards. You deserve it.

3) Don't wash your hands regularly with soap & water - whether they look or feel clean or dirty.

4) Share your drinks & food with everyone, especially children, and use the same forks, spoons, cups etc after they've used them.

5) Touch your face regularly. Rub your eyes, your nose, your mouth. Especially after you've been with someone who has the sniffles, and touched the same objects.

6) Get stressed and worry that you're definitely, certainly, invariably, going to catch the sniffles - if not today, then tomorrow. The more you stress yourself, the better. Viruses love your stress.

Then revel in your sniffles, and your ability to get on with life despite them. And bask in the knowledge that your immune system has acquired another coat of armor every time you catch a virus (rhinovirus, RSV, whatever)........

Hope that helps. thumb



"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Parent issue
chasingrainbows #2583144 10/31/16 02:58 PM
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Not to keep kicking the poor dead horse, but...

I am a virologist. Kids are most contagious and shed the most virus BEFORE the symptoms show up. Once snot is coming out of the nose, those are later stages of the illness, and kids generally feel much better by then, and are generally less contagious.

How do you deal with kids who are sick but are not sniffling yet? I would suggest wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer before and after every "patient".

Most places that teach kids consider a fever over 100 and/or throwing up as "sick". Maybe your policy spelled out that a runny nose is considered sick, but I bet you the parents (like most parents of 7-year-olds) didn't even think about it. I do not think it was an act of defiance on their part at all. In fact, they were probably really excited about the lesson and didn't want to inconvenience you by cancelling. I always feel guilty about cancelling, even if I am legit sick.

Last edited by INBoston; 10/31/16 02:59 PM.

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Re: Parent issue
chasingrainbows #2583175 10/31/16 05:18 PM
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chasingrainbows,

You did the right thing to have the sick specifics definition and sick absence in writing and let the parents signed. Look like the parents did not pay much attention to the policy. After a clear communication, and show your firm line, they should get it. If they still drop in a sick kid again, let them go.

I notice that you already consider the pros and cons. That "If withdraw a kid from school because of sniffing, then the kid will miss 50% school days". Use the same statistics we can conclude that "If exclude sniffing from studio, half the studio time will be empty."
And You had first hand very bad experience of catch months illness from other people. After you evaluate your risks financially and physically, you come with the detailed policy. So I fully support you. Now the task is clear communicate with parent. If I were the parent, I would grateful to be notified sooner than later.
I had an experience to hire a teacher assistant, that is, she is not teaching, but she will help my son to finish his piano assignment. Three time a week, she drop in my home. In the second lesson, she caught some flu from my son. She said that she is a very sensitive person, she basically caught every flu from her family members. So we stopped the lessons. After one month, she recovered, she give one lesson, then sick again for another month. She live nearby, I know her mom quite well. I did notice that she got sick very often, almost every week in two weeks. To be honest, I did not give much thought about that sick-frequency, because my family member got flu maybe once in several years, Except my son, who catches something from school two to four times a year.
In retrospect, if I know she is so sensitive to contagious, I will not consider to hire her. It is no good for anyone. She got exposed to a flu-carrying school child, and my son's schedule has to change too.

Last edited by Deep Fish Piano; 10/31/16 05:35 PM.
Re: Parent issue
chasingrainbows #2583184 10/31/16 05:51 PM
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I, personally, agree with you, CR, as I regard people who uncaringly spread their disease germs around as little short of a criminal class. But,if you are going to insist on this policy for piano students, you are going to have to move to another planet. That, or start specializing in distance learning. There's a market out there.

Take heart as you regard our recent social history. Thirty or so years ago, when I did not smoke and did not want smoke or anyone who smoked in my environment, smoke and smokers were everywhere. Hospitals even had ashtrays.

But now, when I do smoke (having picked up my first one as a joke), smoking has become the next thing to a capital crime, the way people carry on about it. I was never that bad; I would go out into the hall with my buddies who came to visit, while they had their smoke out there. We had some very amusing interludes, which unfortunately can find no place in this column.

While I don't know how old a person you may be, and therefore have no means of guessing whether you will live long enough for social mores to stand upon their head, I can at least suppose that it is possible... provided that a careless cough or sniffle does not carry you off to an early grave, or else to the poorhouse.

In the intervening thirty (or so) years, you might have a go at carving out a place for your studio as a niche market: a space for instruction free of the social diseases such as colds, while they take their leisurely course into turning into antisocial diseases. So to speak.

I have seen hospital rooms (on TV) where the patient's bed was set behind a germ barrier curtain of transparent plastic, and where visitors and staff wore, yes, masks AND gloves. And I don't see what would be such a big deal about giving a coughing or sniveling student a mask for the lesson. You could join in. And washing the hands together could provide a judgmentfree social interval. After all, this protection works in both directions.

Parents might ask themselves which course inconveniences them less, and I'll bet at least some of them will decide what's the difference if junior wears a mask during the lesson, as long as you are nice about it. And what parent could possibly take a stand against handwashing? No one, not to your face.

There are masks, and masks. Get the nice kind. They are more comfortable, and also more effective. Charge a buck or two; put it on the bill. Fair is fair.

It's more than possible, in these days of jet travel from pole to pole, that you might teach half the year in America, or Europe, and the other half in Australia, or South Africa. The only real problem with that, is germs on jets. These passengers are no more considerate than anyone else. Perhaps simply staying in Alaska all year might be the thing, and one travels there by boat, avoiding the germy jets. You will have to test these possibilities out for yourself, and judge of them.

Well... good luck.


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