Thus, day cares are following a strict set of guidelines in order to keep out the sick, especially at larger centers.

“It is definitely scary. If [kids] demonstrate any symptoms we send them home,” said Kelvin McMillan, program administrator at S.M.I.L.E. Pre-school in Dudley Square, which has 150 kids. “We have babies here from six weeks to six years so we have to take every precaution.”

Cities and towns are asking centers to track flu-like illnesses and send regular reports. At Little Feet Daycare in Brookline, Laurie Lasky has taken extra precautions.

“I request that people report to me within 24 hours...whether their child has come down with an illness,” Lasky said. “I really need to know what is happening.”

Lasky said new parents often have a learning curve to understand her guidelines. This fall, everyone got on board right away after countless discussions at the front door.

“I’ve been very proactive and that is different for me,” said Lasky, who hands out every piece of flu-related information she receives. “I have never handed out these kinds of materials before.”

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