The cold and flu season is upon us. We hear this every year, but with all of the news surrounding influenza, H1N1 and "swine flu" it kind of takes on some new meaning. Based solely on the number of memos we have distributed on behalf of the state, we all know that this is no ordinary cold and flu season.
Since school started this year, you have received information on how to avoid the flu, how to tell if you have the flu, what to do if you get the flu, and where to get a flu shot. If you think you are getting inundated with this information, keep in mind, I get it twice - once directly from the Department of Education and then again at home from my children's schools. It can be, to say the least, overwhelming.
In the end, there are some basic things that we all need to know, to be aware of and to do in order to keep our schools and our students as healthy as possible.
First, if your child is ill, please keep him or her home. This is particularly important if he or she exhibits flu-like symptoms. Please keep them home until they are better. We've already had a few students return to school saying they weren't really feeling better but they wanted to come back to school.
Second, encourage your child to wash his or her hands frequently. Every one of our classrooms has hand sanitizer available. Any time a student coughs or sneezes into his or her hands, he or she should be "cleansing." Better yet, encourage your child to use a tissue or, better still, his or her sleeve when coughing or sneezing. Check out this video: http://www.coughsafe.com/media.html. After using the restroom, he or she needs to wash his or her hands - yes, you need to remind them of this! What seems to be obvious to adults in terms of hygiene, is not so obvious to 10 - 14 year-olds.
You can find the latest information from the NJ Department of Education on the parent information page of our website: http://www.lebtwpk8.org/. While I know you probably feel that there's nothing more you can read about the flu and H1N1, please take a moment to review the information. More importantly, take some time to remind your child about the simple things they can do to minimize the chances of getting sick this cold and flu season.