Guidelines for Reporting Absences and Exclusion Times of Sick Children
As we face what promises to be a very busy flu season, it is important to reiterate a few important messages:
1. You must always use a thermometer to determine your child’s temperature BEFORE sending him/her to school.
Students who complain of any symptoms such as sore throats, stomach aches, coughs or general malaise need to be assessed first by taking a temperature. Please keep in mind that the health of the rest of the school community should be your top priority when determining your child’s readiness for school.
There are students in our school with chronic health challenges such as asthma, diabetes and neurological conditions that predispose them to become severely sick if exposed to the H1N1 virus. We have children with compromised immune systems because they are under treatment with chemotherapy and others who return home everyday to parents and grandparents who are receiving chemotherapy. We have teachers who are pregnant. Many of our children come from families with young infants at home. These are individuals for whom the H1N1 virus could be quite harmful. Please consider the needs of others before sending a child who may be sick to school.
2. We will be relying on you to report temperature readings and other symptoms on our attendance line when you call in.
All district schools have changed their attendance line messages to reflect this. Please take your child’s temperature prior to calling the attendance line so you can report the thermometer reading. Simply stating “no fever” or “low-grade fever” is not enough. We now need the actual thermometer reading. By leaving this on your message, you will save us the time of having to call you back for the information later. (At SBS, we will send you a High Importance Instant Alert Message via our Honeywell System if this information is not reported.) Health department surveillance programs are relying on schools to report flu activity so we need this information to report numbers of students absent with influenza like illness.
3. Students who exhibit influenza-like symptoms (“ILI”) symptoms will be required by the school district to be home from school until at least 24 hours after they are fever-free (without the use of fever-reducing medication).
Influenza like illness (“ILI”) is defined by a temperature of at least 100.4 with a cough and or sore throat. Younger children may also present with stomach aches. Remember that this is a minimum exclusion period. If your student is still tired, achy and exhibiting other symptoms, we encourage you to extend that time period so when they do return, they are feeling well enough to learn!
Please keep in mind that determining a student’s readiness for school is “an art and a science”, but the science must always come first! Use a thermometer, report all information on the attendance line, and remember that the health of the community depends on us all. Thanks for your support.