Dear Lower Lab Families,
Please review the info below regarding influenza and what actions students might take to prevent the spread of illness during the winter flu season.
If your child is currently out with the flu and has been diagnosed by your physician. Calling the office is not enough! We need medical documentation! The nurse saves this data to determine if we have a cluster at our school. Thanks for your continued support and have a great weekend.
The Department of Education and The Lower Lab School would like to remind you of steps you can take to decrease illness due to these viruses in your schools.
Respiratory viruses can spread very quickly in schools and may cause severe disease. The primary symptoms of respiratory virus infections such as influenza include fever over 100°F, sore throat and/or cough, chills and muscle aches. Influenza vaccination can limit the impact of influenza viruses and is recommended for all students and staff.
GI viruses such as norovirus can also spread very rapidly in schools. The primary symptoms of norovirus infection include vomiting and diarrhea which typically last 24-48 hours. More information on norovirus can be found at: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/
Preventing Illness in our School
Careful attention to hand hygiene, cough etiquette, environmental cleaning and early intervention if an illness is detected can limit the spread of these viruses. Posters below are up on our walls stressing the importance of hand hygiene and cough etiquette.
- We ask that you remind and encourage your child to wash their hands often with warm water and soap, especially after using the bathroom, before touching/eating food, or caring for someone who is sick.
- We are asking that families also encourage students to remember to cover their mouth when they cough/sneeze.
- We are making every effort to clean surfaces that may be contaminated with influenza, norovirus or become dirty from vomit or stool immediately with a germ-killing cleaner.
- “High touch” surfaces such as faucets, toilets, floors, tables, toys, handrails, doorknobs, and elevator buttons are being cleaned frequently.
- Students or staff who have a respiratory illness or are experiencing vomiting or diarrhea should stay at home until they are no longer sick. Students or staff who develop an illness while in school should also be sent home.
- We have the hand washing posters displayed in every bathroom.
Finally, and most important …Families should always share Doctor’s notes regarding respiratory or GI illness with the school nurse and the Main Office
Guidance to Help Prevent the Spread of Illness During Flu Season
The fall and winter seasons coincide with an increase in viruses that can cause fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and breathing problems. These viruses include noroviruses (commonly known as the stomach flu), influenza (commonly known as the flu), and the common cold and enteroviruses (mild to severe respiratory illness). Please note the following guidelines to help prevent the spread of the flu virus at schools:
Students and staff should wash their hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds. In general, students and staff should wash their hands after arriving at school, before touching food, after using the bathroom, and after coughing or sneezing. Please ensure that soap and paper towels are available and note that alcohol-based sanitizers are not as effective against spreading viruses as soap and water.
Students and staff should cover their mouths and noses with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or use their shirt sleeve, not their hands.
Students and staff members who are sick, especially with fever, vomiting or diarrhea, should stay home to reduce the risk of spreading the illness to others. Children with fever, vomiting, or diarrhea should stay home until their symptoms are gone and they are free of fever without taking fever-reducing medicine for 24 hours.
Students and staff members should get vaccinated against the flu.
In addition to administering flu vaccines to adults, licensed pharmacists can now use an appropriate non-patient-specific standing order to administer flu vaccines to children between the ages of 2 and 17 years of age, on a temporary basis.
If your school has a School-Based Health Center (SBHC) on site, all vaccinations can be provided free of charge by the SBHC to students who have been enrolled at the center. In cases where SBHCs are not on site, students will need to visit a local clinic or physician to receive immunization; they can also locate federally qualified health centers. FSC health directors can also provide you with a list of clinics near your school.
You should also review this info from the NYC Department of Health’s Bureau of Communicable Diseases, which contains information to help decrease the risk of spreading illnesses at school; for additional information, see these resources on Noroviruses and Influenza/Flu that may be of assistance in answering questions from students and parents. You may also find it helpful to print and post the following materials to promote these healthy practices in your school: “Cover Your Cough” posters are available in 14 languages, and another poster that promotes hand-washing.