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Flu Season Guidelines

This time of year often marks the beginning of the annual flu season. The Diocesan Office of Catholic Schools works closely with local public and non public educational agencies, as well as the county and state health departments, to monitor flu conditions and provide guidance about how to reduce the spread of flu in each of our Catholic Schools.

It is our desire to keep our schools open to students and functioning in a normal manner during this flu season and we are taking steps to do so. Here are some ways you can help:

· Teach your children to wash their hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. You can set a good example by doing this yourself.

· Teach your children not to share personal items like drinks, food or unwashed utensils, and to cover their coughs and sneezes with tissues of using the inside of the elbow or arm instead of the hand when a tissue is unavailable.

· Know the signs and symptoms of the flu. Symptoms of the flu include fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit, 37.8 degrees Celsius or greater), cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, and feeling very tired. Some people may also vomit or have diarrhea.

· Do not send children to school if they are sick. Any children who are determined to be sick while at school will be sent home.

· Keep sick children at home for at least 24 hours after they have no signs of fever, without using fever-reducing drugs. Keeping children with a fever at home will reduce the number of people who may get infected.

If the flu becomes more severe, we may take additional steps to prevent the spread such as:

· conducting active fever and flu symptom screening of students and staff as they arrive at school,

· making changes to increase the space between people such as moving desks farther apart, postponing class trips, limiting contact during school Mass and

· dismissing students from school for at least 7 days if they become sick.

The Office of Catholic Schools also works closely with other Diocesan Offices to coordinate instructions that may be made in response to varying flu conditions. Directives concerning School Mass will be issued with guidance from the Secretariat for Worship and Liturgical Formation; decisions affecting personnel will be made with the help of the Office of Human Resources, etc. Public statements will be coordinated through the Secretariat for Communications.

For more information about flu, visit www.flu.gov and http://www.flu.gov/professional/school/schoolflutoolkit.pdf or call 1-800-CDC-INFO. You may also visit your local health department website or call the school directly.

You will be notified of any additional changes to your school’s strategy to prevent the spread of flu.

Yours in Christ,

Charles Taylor, Superintendent of Catholic Schools
Diocese of Gaylord