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Archive for September, 2014

At the beginning of the school year I was more than happy to give credit to MCPS for putting up a health warning on their web site about the virus that is spreading across the country and appears to be hitting kids especially hard. Three weeks into the school year I’m not feeling so great about the depth and effectiveness of the MCPS’ response to what is becoming one of major issues facing our schools and schools around the country in their mission to educate and safeguard our kids during the school day.

For a school system which has the resources to be handing out free IPads like candy and which has a compulsive obsession with issuing feel good public affairs announcements, one would think someone in authority either on the school board or in the central office would realize that a web warning with a list of symptoms and guidelines was only one step that needed to taken. Another even more obvious step would have been to devote some resources to increasing the health care staffing and support to meet the obviously predictable rush to the school clinics. This was not hard to see coming. I can tell you from first hand observation right now the Osbourn and Mayfield nurse offices need help and additional space, I suspect the other schools in the MCPS are in similar need.

What to do? I know what the School Board and Central Office first response will be: “WE WANT MORE MONEY!” Well, here’s an alternative for the people who wanted to run our schools: You go down to the school nurses’ office and YOU take time out of your work days and your family times and you volunteer and help respond to the health threat which YOU saw coming but which you thought could simply be treated with a public health warning. You dumped this on the nurses and the schools, you deal with it in the real world just like the staff, students and parents are being forced to deal with it.

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MCPS WARNING:

MCPS and families prepare in case serious respiratory infection hits area

Respiratory Aliment Preparation 2014

A common respiratory virus has been affecting children in some states particularly hard. Enterovirus D-68 can cause severe breathing problems, especially in children with asthma or other pre-existing conditions.

The ailment has not yet been confirmed in Virginia, but Manassas City Public Schools is preparing for its possible arrival. With your help, and the use of standard precautions, we can minimize any possible impact from this ailment to keep our students and families healthy.

What to look out for:
•Watch for cold-like symptoms that seem worse than normal, or involve fever, rash, or difficulty breathing;
•Get children to a doctor quickly if they have pre-existing respiratory problems like asthma, or have increasing respiratory difficulty.

Good health practices are the best protection:

Enteroviruses are common and cannot be prevented or cured. Their spread can be controlled.
•Wash hands frequently with soap and water;
•Cover nose and mouth with a sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing;
•Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth to prevent the spread of germs;
•Watch carefully for cold-like symptoms – sick adults and children should be kept at home for at least 24 hours after fever is gone;
•If someone is sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to help prevent spreading illness;
•Avoid kissing, hugging, or sharing utensils with people who are sick;
•Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick;
•Take steps to ensure optimal control of asthma in children;
•We encourage you to get your annual influenza vaccine.

What MCPS is doing:
•School nurses will be carefully monitoring student health and all illnesses;
•Good health practices will be reinforced with students;
•Students showing symptoms of illness will be promptly sent home;
•Parents will be alerted to any unusual levels of illnesses

As with many ailments, good preparation and precautionary measures are truly the best medicine for Enterovirus D-68.

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