This flu season has been a doozy – one of the worst in the past decade – and the virus has caused schools to close in at least 12 states.
Even for schools that don’t close, the flu can be disruptive, with students coughing and sniffling in class, or falling behind while home sick.
Between 5 and 20 percent of people in the United States get the flu each fall and winter, according to the National Institutes of Health. Moreover, the flu accounted for 39 percent of illness episodes and led to more than 1,075 missed school days over three flu seasons according to a study of more than 1,000 school-aged children published earlier this year in the Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses journal.
Those missed school days can have a huge effect on student outcomes – and the budget.
SSC believes a learning environment should always be safe, clean and well-managed – a place students, faculty and parents can be proud of, both inside and out. According to a study by National School Boards Association and its Clean, Green and Safe Schools initiative, schools that are in better physical condition report an improvement in academic performance in comparison to schools with fewer janitorial personnel and higher maintenance backlogs.
Want to keep your school safe and healthy this flu season? Here are five tips:
1. Encourage students and teachers to stay home when sick.
Some people may try to be a hero and come to school sick, but it’s important for anyone who gets the flu to stay home until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever to avoid spreading it to other students or teachers.
2. Cover your mouth, and teach staff and students to do the same.
Most experts believe the flu is spread by droplets made when people with the flu cough and sneeze. Teach students – and remind teachers – to cover their mouths with a tissue or bent arm to prevent those droplets from spreading.
3. Encourage hand-washing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, using a paper towel to dry hands and using that same towel to turn off the faucet. Consider incorporating hand-washing breaks into students’ and staff’s schedules.
4. Regularly clean high-touch areas.
Remember those droplets? They can get on everything, especially objects students and teachers touch often throughout the day. SSC has a special cleaning checklist just for cold and flu season, which puts an emphasis on cleaning high-touch areas like desks, water fountains, counters and even light switches.
5. Do more than just clean.
Sometimes a general cleaner won’t cut it. SSC often uses a disinfectant that kills 99.9 percent of germs, and also has policies to prevent cross-contamination.
Is your school doing enough this flu season? Let SSC think about it so you don’t have to.
Want to learn more about how SSC helps schools prevent the spread of the flu? Get in touch with us.
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