If you have a doctor diagnose you with flu, you stay out of school for seven calendar days.
Hutchinson USD 308 is reminding parents of that and fighting germs at the same time.
“A lot of people use the word flu when they are not tested for influenza,” says Olivia Kite, USD 308 Coordinator of Nursing.
But, if you are diagnosed with flu, Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE) rules say a child can not return to school until seven days after the onset of the first symptom.
Officials from USD 259 Wichita, the largest district in the state, say there is no way to “police” parents on kids who have the flu. They remind parents that kids have to stay out, and the district cleans to make sure kids are not getting sick in higher numbers.
“The district follows a strict cleaning regimen,” says Susan Arensman, USD 259 spokeswoman.
In Hutchinson, they have not seen a spike in flu recently. At least no more than normal for this time of the year, but they are spraying down buildings with an electrostatic sprayer.
“We can treat a classroom in about less than three to five minutes,” says Randy Norwood, USD 308 Director of Operations.
Randy explains that while they offer wipes to the kids, and they use a microfiber process to wipe down surfaces. They also us the sprayer when it’s needed.
“The last time we did a building was this Saturday. We did this entire building,” says Norwood. “We’ve had a higher number of sickness and some illness both staff and students. A little bit of concern was expressed due to that, so we were able to come in and treat the entire building.”
And Hutchinson has taken to social media to remind parents and other school districts of the flu rule that is new this year.
“We put something out on Facebook just to remind parents if you’re sick, when to stay home and when to come to school,” said Kite. “I’m probably going to catch some parents off guard because the exclusion policies, while pretty basic, catch some parents off guard. Like why do they have to be fever-fee without medication for 24 hours?”
Also part of the rules.
Gerald Kratochvil with KDHE send KSN News a comment on the student with flu exclusion rules from schools.
“The influenza isolation regulation is in place in order to reduce the risk of transmission to others,” wrote Gerald Kratochvil, spokesperson for KDHE. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most healthy adults with influenza are infectious beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to seven days after becoming sick; children and those with immuno compromising conditions may be infectious even longer. However, if a person has been treated with an antiviral medication or has received the influenza vaccine their course of illness and infectiousness may be reduced. In those circumstances, the local health officer can reduce the isolation period.”
Hutchinson schools also works with parents to go find help for illness.
“We are a good resource for helping parents here at the district,” says Kite. “We encourage them to go see their primary care doctor. We have a nurse in every building and they’re very good at being a resource and helping them if they need help getting (to see a doctor) somewhere. We’re good resources, but we don’t diagnose so we always encourage them to go to their doctor.”