Chilton County Schools monitoring flu cases
By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer
Chilton County schools have seen several cases of the flu or flu-like symptoms this season.
Efforts have been made to mitigate the spread of illness, and lead nurse Chrysta Russell said the school system is seeing a decline in the number of absent students this week.
She said an increase in the number of students with flu-like symptoms was first seen at Thorsby High School.
“We checked with the Health Department, and they gave us some guidelines to follow,” Russell said.
The school system was told to closely monitor classrooms that had five or more cases of confirmed flu or flu-like systems in two days or more than 20 percent absenteeism.
Flu symptoms include a fever of 100 degrees or more accompanied by a cough, sore throat, muscle aches and extreme fatigue, if known to not be caused by other illnesses.
Disinfectant foggers have been used in classrooms, when class was not in session, where a student was known to have had the flu. Disinfecting wipes were also used, and students were reminded to wash their hands to keep germs from spreading.
“Our teachers and our staff are really committed to disinfecting,” Russell said.
This week, Chilton County Schools announced on its Facebook page that a parent’s note, rather than a doctor’s note for students with the flu or flu-like symptoms, would be accepted for an excused absence and not count against the parent note limit. This will be in effect until Feb. 28.
Russell said this may have contributed to the decrease in the number of absences seen because students that potentially had the flu were not at school to further spread the illness when it has not been confirmed.
Russell said not every person shows all of the symptoms.
“Prevention methods are: proper and frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes and most importantly, staying home when sick,” the school system stated in the post. “Per the Student/Parent Guide page 45 – Flu: Child must stay home at least 3 days from onset of disease and until fever free (less than 100 degrees) for over 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medicines such as Tylenol or Advil. If students show signs of flu while at school, parents will be notified immediately.”
THS and Isabella High School have been the schools with the highest number of absences.
“We are monitoring it per the Alabama Department of Health guidelines and are in contact with them on a daily basis,” Russell said.
Russell said determining exactly why a student is out can be difficult because not every student with the flu or flu-like symptoms will have a doctor’s note saying so.