Taking Your Temperature on Shabbat
New England, USA
One problem we’ve bumped into a few times this year that I’d love your take/pesak on. Our protocols for returning to school are very different depending on whether or not you spoke a fever. A few people have felt feverish over Shabbat, but not taken their temperature, because there is no obvious toelet. The problem is that they are then put into the high risk category, and miss up to five unnecessary days of school. (We’ve tried encouraging taking motza‘ei Shabbat, and that’ll be easier when Shabbat ends earlier, but it’s past many of our kids bed time.) Would I be right to encourage them (teachers and kids) to take temperatures on Shabbat?
Yes, definitely. It is stam mutar to take your temperature on Shabbat – see Shulchan Arukh OC 306:7, and Mishnah Berurah 306:36 – דמדידה רפואה היא ורפואת הגוף מצוה היא. Medidat mitzvah is permitted, and knowing the status of a choleh falls into this. Regardless, if someone has a very high fever you will need to seek out a doctor or take her to the hospital on Shabbat, so it definitely is permitted.