Dear Arlington Public Schools (APS) Families and Staff:
Influenza and Norovirus season is fast approaching. Although influenza typically causes respiratory symptoms and norovirus causes sudden onset of vomiting and diarrhea, both spread easily from person to person.
In order to protect both yourself and others and reduce illness in schools, the School Health Bureau is asking that you take the following steps:
- Have everyone in your family (adults and children) wash their hands regularly and cover their coughs and sneezes. Washing hands upon arrival at school and before and after eating are particularly important as noted in the APS Wellness Policy (see page 6).
- Notify the school and either stay home (if you are staff) or keep your children home for fever of 100.4 or higher, especially along with cough or sore throat, or for any episodes of vomiting or diarrhea. Please wait until you or your child are symptom and fever free for 24 hours (without the need for medication) and feeling better before returning to school.
Please remember that preventing illness and the spread of disease protects not just you and your family, but also students or staff who may have serious conditions affecting their ability to fight off infections. On average, every classroom has one or more people who may have asthma, diabetes, heart disease, severe allergies, cystic fibrosis, cancer or other conditions that make them vulnerable.
It’s time to get the flu vaccine! Public Health strongly recommends that everyone age 6 months and older should receive a flu vaccine each year (with rare exceptions.)
- APS is offering flu shots at school during the school day for those who want to participate. Arlington Public Schools is partnering with Healthy Schools, the nation’s largest school vaccine provider to provide this service.
- To find flu vaccines near you go to http://flushot.healthmap.org/ and type in your zip code.
- The Arlington County Public Health Division also has several walk-in clinics each week. The vaccine may be free or may include a co-pay (depending on insurance status).
Thank you for your attention.
Sarah N. Bell, RN, MPH Reuben K. Varghese, MD, MPH
School Health Bureau Chief Health Director and Division Chief