Health Update on Influenza & COVID-19 - February 28th

Dear Shorewood Families,

We are in the midst of the flu season and currently there are no concerns with our illness related absences district wide. In addition, the news continues to feature information regarding the Coronavirus. The Shorewood School District does have an Emergency Response Plan for Pandemic Flu. We will continue to monitor the coronavirus updates from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WDHS) and Center for Disease Control (CDC), and update families as needed with the guidance of the North Shore Health Department. Influenza is currently the dominant respiratory illness in Wisconsin. 

The following information was provided by our North Shore Health Department, CDC and WDHS for schools and families:

Role of Schools
  • Follow several reporting protocols and work with local health departments, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, as well as national resources like the CDC to support healthy students and communities.
  • Provide additional guidance by the district nurse for health room procedures, health-related education, and direct service to students.
  • Educate students regarding best practice in not spreading germs. In Shorewood, we reinforce good hand hygiene and proper cough etiquette. 
  • Clean and sanitize all areas of our schools. 
  • We continue to monitor our student population and implement extra cleaning practices in our buildings.
  • During the times of increased illness, we bring in additional support and move to a more strict disinfectant protocol as directed by the Health Department.
  • Staff members who are ill are directed to call in for a substitute as we do not want to expose students or other staff to illness.
Role of Families
  • Report any illness signs and symptoms that occur in your child/student to the school including day/time of onset and all symptoms present. Please be specific if your child has symptoms for gastrointestinal illness, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and/or signs and symptoms for any respiratory illness, including cough, fever, runny nose, malaise. Being specific with symptoms/diagnosis when you report illness is important to help with tracking. 
  • Notify the school if a medical provider has confirmed your child to have influenza or any other concerning respiratory illness.
  • The CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.  The North Shore Health Department continues to have the flu vaccine available. You may call them directly to schedule an appointment.
  • Reinforce preventative actions to stop the spread of disease-causing germs and encourage rest, hydration, and healthy foods for your child.
  • The Health Department recommends routinely cleaning your home surfaces, bedding, your children’s winter gear, school bags, sports equipment, etc.
When to Keep Children at Home
  • Keep children who are sick at home, especially if they have a fever above 100 degrees F, diarrhea, vomiting, or a severe cough.
  • If your child is feverish, he/she should stay home until at least 24 hours after he/she no longer has a fever or signs of a fever without taking fever-reducing medication. Signs of a fever (100 degrees F or higher) include chills, feeling very warm, a flushed appearance and/or sweating. Please make arrangements to accommodate this time away from school. Understand that dosing your child with a fever reducer so that he/she may attend school can spread infection to others, places children with lower immune function at risk, and may slow your child's restorative process.
  • A child should be free of gastrointestinal issues for 24 hours before they may return to school.
  • If your child’s cough is deep and uncontrollable (even without a fever) then he/she should stay home.
  • Stay home if sore throat is severe, if white spots are seen on the back of the throat, or if a headache or upset stomach is also present.
  • Severe fatigue and achy muscles are also symptoms of influenza. Rest is imperative for healing, and your child should stay home to facilitate rest if these and the above symptoms are present.
  • Please keep your children home if they are not feeling well, as often the first signs of illness is tiredness or the child “just not seeming like themselves.”
North Shore Health Department Resources:

The department has provided an overview of their recommendations from the Wisconsin Division of Public Health-Communicable Disease Epidemiology Section:

Coronavirus in the News
You have likely been informed of the expanding outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus which is abbreviated “COVID-19”.  Some people may naturally be worried about the virus and the impact on our community. Please know that our School District is receiving frequent updates and guidance from the North Shore Health Department as well as the Department of Public Instruction regarding this matter. This message serves to simply connect you with resources about the outbreak and to remind you of our District’s illness protocols as noted above. After you have read through the information linked below if you have any specific concerns or questions, please contact our district nurse or your family’s healthcare provider. The coming weeks are likely to bring more information, and we will update you again if our School District receives any new instructions or guidance.

While the immediate risk of this new virus to our community is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging health concern:
  • Follow the protocols listed above
  • If someone has traveled in China and returned prior to February 2nd, there are no restrictions at this time.
  • If a traveler has returned to the US since February 2nd, the local health department would be notified and the traveler would already have instructions on what to do and when to return to school.
  • Symptoms related to COVID-19 include: fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
  • Stay informed with factual information by visiting the following links to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS):

    -The CDC has a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ link that you might find helpful: 
Thank you for your continued support in keeping our students, staff, families, and community healthy.  

Kelly Barlow, BSN, RN
Shorewood School District Nurse