In the past several weeks, we have seen a dramatic increase in media coverage about influenza in our country, which has caused many families to worry about how they can stay well. At Harding, we have not yet seen the same high percentage of flu cases in our population that is being reported elsewhere in our area. I have spoken with many classrooms about how they can help prevent the spread of illness here at school and beyond. The prevention strategies we discussed apply to influenza as well as most illnesses spread during the winter months (e.g. the common cold and other viruses). It is gratifying to see the children put these good habits to use at school, and I appreciate their efforts to keep themselves and others healthy! Our maintenance staff are also diligently disinfecting the surfaces that students come into contact with daily.
Harding families also have a pivotal role in keeping our community healthy. By keeping your sick child home until he or she is well, you are minimizing the spread of illness throughout the school. Please remember that children may not come to school until they are fever-free for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication). Please refer to the Student Health section of your Harding Handbook for additional information.
In regards to influenza, please keep any child with flu-like symptoms at home, even if the child tests negative for the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as many as 30-50% of people who have the flu will still test negative on rapid flu testing. The CDC website recommends that:
“Persons who are diagnosed with influenza by a physician or who have a febrile respiratory illness during a period of increased influenza activity in the community should remain at home until the fever is resolved for 24 hours (without fever-reducing medications) and the cough is resolving to avoid exposing other members of the public.”
I appreciate your help in keeping our school community healthy. Please let me know if your child is home sick with the flu or flu-like symptoms, so I may track the number of cases within the school. If you have any questions regarding our illness policy or illness within the school, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.