Influenza policy bans infected students from attending school

USD 402 district posted a flyer on the district website. The policy has existed previous years but was recently revised on Feb. 12; Any student positive with a case of Influenza must be put into quarantine. Photo courtesy USD 402.

USD 402 district posted a flyer on the district website. The policy has existed previous years but was recently revised on Feb. 12; Any student positive with a case of Influenza must be put into quarantine. Photo courtesy USD 402.

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The USD 402 district posted an updated quarantine policy for students who tested positive for influenza Feb. 12.

Influenza (also known as the flu) is a common virus that comes during the springtime; the virus attacks the nose, throat, and lungs. If left untreated, it can lead to death.

“[Influenza] is a respiratory virus,” nurse Jennifer Dawson said. “Generally, the symptoms come on pretty fast, so a lot of times they will start with headaches, sore throat, body aches, high fever.”

The policy from the district states, “Each person with a case of influenza is required to be isolated at home for seven days following the onset of illness except when seeking medical care,” according to the USD 402 website.

The virus is spread through the air and by contact. Dawson encourages elementary and high school students to wash their hands multiple times during the day.

“Handwashing is the number one preventative, along with the flu shot,” Dawson said. “You can wear a mask if you are around someone [contagious].”

Students are pulled from school grounds immediately if positively diagnosed with influenza.

“We’ve been keeping count,” Dawson said. “In the past week, three students have been diagnosed.”

Business teacher Kellee Roberts was diagnosed with influenza in the past.

“We get flu shots,” Roberts said. “I used to not get flu shots, and then I got the flu one year, and that’s the worst I’ve ever felt in my entire life.”

Some parents and teachers refuse to get vaccinated for a variety of reasons.

“I never got them in the past because I didn’t really think they worked,” Roberts said. “I was one of those people who always felt sick after they got them.”

Mancell Durrett (10) and his brother Carter Durrett (9) have also been sick with influenza in the past.

“I was really sick; I was throwing up over and over,” Mancell said. “I went to school while [Carter] was sick, so I didn’t see him a lot.”

Roberts and Carter felt many of the flu symptoms Dawson described.

“He complained about how groggy he was; he was rather loopy,” Mancell said. “I didn’t take any measures [to prevent myself from getting sick].”

While the flu shot is effective, it is not as effective as using a preventative, such as handwashing or a mask. Sometimes, the flu can become a secondary infection, where the sickness gets worse and turns into pneumonia.

“I think that humans need to find a way to treat it better,” Mancell said.

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