NJ school districts scrambling to stop flu from spreading
You've heard of snow days. A school district in Hunterdon County last week took a flu day.
With high levels of influenza being reported across the Garden State, school districts are doing everything they can to stop the virus from spreading.
Janet Bamford, spokeswoman for the New Jersey School Boards Association, said there are no hard and fast rules that guide school districts on when to close their doors because of illness.
“It is a decision that is made at the school level but obviously it is in consultation with the professionals that the district relies on — their school nursing staff, their school physician and the county department of health," she said.
“I don’t think any school takes this decision lightly because everyone is well aware of the impact on both parents that are working and those that aren’t working.”
She pointed out if the kids can’t go to school it can cause major scheduling issues.
“But sometimes if the school is feeling like a large percentage of students and teachers are calling in absent anyway, it’s the smart thing to do.”
If this kind of situation arises, Bamford said most districts have options to communicate the closure to parents.
The days of telephone chains, where one parent would call three others and so on, to spread school closing news is over. Nowadays, districts use email, web alerts, Facebook and Twitter.
There's also New Jersey 101.5's notification system.
In these types of announcements, schools will typically inform parents of the illness trend, what symptoms are being seen and what protocol should be followed before a student is sent back to school. That often means no fever for at least 24 hours.
“In a season like this the janitorial staff of any school would be stepping up their efforts to use disinfectant on commonly touched surfaces," she said. "Most schools are taking some heightened precautions.”
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com