There have been several news reports of schools in Tennessee closing due to illness. Overall, FSSD schools are seeing mostly average numbers of absence due to illness for this time of the year, but we anticipate that we could see our illness numbers increase as well. There are several contagious illnesses that are common this time of year among students, including respiratory viruses, pinkeye, stomach viruses, strep throat and the flu. No matter the cause, our strategies to prevent the spread of these illnesses at school and at home are the same. All of our school and childcare administrators are on high alert. We have reminded employees of our protocols for preventing the spread of illness in school and to be diligent in following these procedures. We also need parents/guardians to help us in preventing the spread of illness by following the guidelines below.
- Remind children and family members to “catch” coughs and sneezes in the bend of their elbow. Many contagious illnesses are spread through respiratory droplets.
- Children and family members should wash hands frequently, especially after sneezing or coughing into the hands, blowing their nose, before eating or drinking and after using the restroom.
- All children and family members with “pinkeye” should wash hands after touching their eyes/face. Avoiding touching your face and eyes can limit the spread of many viruses.
- Disinfect commonly touched surfaces in your home such as bathroom and kitchen faucets and countertops, especially when there is an ill family member.
- Do not send your child to school if they have fever (100 degrees or higher), vomiting or diarrhea, pinkeye, rash, or other obvious signs of illness. It is very important that students be symptom-free for a full 24 hours before returning to school. Students who had fever must be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications such as Tylenol and Advil. If you are unsure if your child is well enough to attend school, or if you do not have access to a thermometer, contact your school nurse or bring your child to the school nurse upon arrival to school for evaluation.
- Be prepared to pick up your child promptly when notified by the school nurse that your child is ill. Make sure you have prepared a plan for someone else to pick up your student if you are unable to come due to work or other circumstances such as out of town travel. Always make sure you have updated any changes in phone numbers with the school office so that your contact information is up to date. It is important that ill students be excluded from school promptly to prevent spreading illness to others.
We appreciate everyone working together to help keep our schools and childcare facilities safe and healthy for all!