Most students in North Texas have been back from holiday break for less than a week and already districts are reporting positive cases of the influenza virus.
“It is an air-born illness. It can spread through cough, it can spread through you being around a contagious person for any length of time, so we try to do anything we can do decrease the possibility,” said Karen Beauchamp, a registered nurse with the Irving Independent School District.
Beauchamp said in order to stop the spread of the virus, the district is sending nurses into classrooms to talk to students, especially elementary age ones, about the importance of hand-washing and how to properly cover a cough.
After school, maintenance workers are ramping up efforts to clean and wipe down surfaces where germs could be lurking.
Churches, like Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas, are also taking steps to keep members healthy.
During children’s choir practice on Wednesday night, instructor Beverly Golden reminded her kids to use plenty of hand sanitizer and to pay attention to how they are feeling.
Pastor of Worship and Music, Stephen Carrell, said some church members have become extremely sick.
“We’re administering to people who are currently hospitalized. Our staff is on the spot with families because we do have many, well not many, but several church members who are dealing with very serious flu ramifications and conditions,” he said.
Carrell said because of the virus, it is possible he could reconsider how he conducts some activities.
“I think we would take careful consideration of how we’re interacting with one another and there could possibly be some activates within our program that we would try to alter in some way,” Carrell said.”
Both schools and churches are asking parents to get themselves and their children vaccinated.
Also, if a child does become sick with the flu, to keep them home until they can go 24 hours without showing signs or symptoms of the flu and can maintain a normal temperature, without using fever-reducing medication.