Cases of influenza already have been documented in Kentucky this fall. Because flu activity has stared earlier than usual, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending a heightened effort to promote flu prevention. Flu vaccine clinics and reporting flu like activity are encouraged to promote this effort.
The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and the Kentucky Department of Public Health (KDPH) are partnering to track students with flu-like illnesses in the school setting. When a teacher, school nurse or attendance clerk is notified that a child is absent due to flu-like symptoms, attendance clerks or other school staff members should code the absence with one of the following codes:
- ILE – Influenza-like excused
- ILP – Influenza-like parent note
- ILD – Influenza-like doctor note
- ILU – Influenza-like unexcused
Flu-like illnesses should be tracked closely by administrators, school nurses and district health coordinators to determine if the district flu plan should be activated. Extra cleaning by custodial staff should be performed during the day, including the cleaning of frequently used items such as water fountains, computer keyboards, et cetera. The use of shared items such as crayons and scissors should be limited as well. Students also should be taught to cover coughs and to use good hand washing practices.
School districts should always notify their local health department of any outbreaks or closings as they work with state epidemiologists as well as the CDC for data reporting.
Visit CDC’s website for free resources, including information on how to avoid contracting the flu.