Back-to-school season coincides with an increase in the viruses that can cause fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and breathing problems. These include noroviruses (commonly known as the stomach flu), influenza (commonly known as the common cold), and enteroviruses (mild to severe respiratory illness). Please encourage your staff and students to take the following simple actions that can help stop viruses from spreading at school:
- Students and staff should wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds. In general, students and staff should wash hands after arriving at school, before touching food, after using the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, and after coming in from outside. Please work with your staff to ensure that soap and paper towels are available and note that alcohol-based sanitizers are not as effective against viruses as soap and water.
- Students and staff should over coughs and sneezes with a tissue or shirt sleeve, not with their hands.
- Students and staff members who are sick should stay home to reduce the risk that others will get sick as well. Children with fever, vomiting, or diarrhea should stay home until the symptoms are gone or until a doctor indicates that it is appropriate to return. Children who develop breathing problems should stay home until cough symptoms are gone.
- Students and staff should get vaccinated against the flu.
For more detailed information, see these guides about noroviruses, influenza, the City’s guide to enterovirus, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guide to enterovirus.