Schools say: Stay home when sick

By Xiomara Levsen, The JOURNAL


Flu season has yet to peak this year, which has the Washington Community School District asking parents to be ?aware? of the symptoms.

Tuesday a note was posted on the school district?s website asking parents to watch for fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue and occasional vomiting or diarrhea. If the children see any of these symptoms, the district asks parents to keep them home.

Superintendent Jeff Dicks said the district has only seen 5 to 6 percent in absences in all of the buildings daily this week. This may seem like a lot, but there are some school districts that reported having 25 percent of their student population absent due to illness last week.

?If you?re at 10 percent in absences you?re required to report it to the state and we?re not even close to that,? Dicks said.

Dicks is also the superintendent in the WACO Community School District and the nurse in that district said they are also at 5 to 6 percent for absences.

The school nurses receive an update from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) on a weekly basis about any illness outbreak that is reported in Iowa. There were 40 school districts last week that reported 10 percent of their population being out due to illness, Dicks said.

Dicks credits his staff in both districts for helping to keep the outbreak of the flu or any other illness from getting any higher.

?I?m in the buildings a lot and I see all the preventive measures being taught to the students,? he said. ?Things like washing your hands and covering your mouth when you cough. I commend all the teachers for teaching that and reminding the students about it on a regular basis.?

Accoding to the IDPH website, the predominant flu strain this season is AH3N2, which typically causes serious illnesses, hospitalizations and even death, particularly for those who are very young or old and those with weakened immune systems. The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses.

It comes on suddenly and symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches. Illness typically lasts two to seven days, and often puts otherwise healthy people in bed for days.