Fresno Unified School District works to fight flu season

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As our kids settle back into the classroom, the flu season is in full swing. For Fresno Unified, it's never too early to start talking flu season.

"If it hits us hard, it's really hard to catch up with," said Jane Banks, director of health services at FUSD. "What we try to do is educate before hand, so we can reduce those numbers before flu season hits."

This year, administrators say it hasn't hit the classroom quite as hard, largely due to preventive measures.

"Things like educating kids on washing your hands before you eat, washing your hands after you use the restroom, coughing into your elbow and if you have a fever stay at home," Banks explained.

The district also tried a new pilot program this year. As part of the FLUency program, all parents were offered free smart thermometers.

Thos who opted in, they could use that thermometer to take their student's temperature, and then they would then receive a detailed report on their phone.

"Based on the temperature you get, it will say maybe you should see the doctor today, and it helps reduce some of those numbers," Banks continued. "Not everyone has thermometers. It's a good way to get that program out there and reduce the absenteeism in our schools."

Over 2,000 thermometers were distributed, and staff says it's making a difference.

"I think it's bringing more awareness to families, to be aware, be more mindful," Banks said. "If students aren't feeling well, there are steps you can take that way you're not sending a sick kid to school."

Administrators say they plan to compare this year's flu numbers to last year to see what impact the fluency program may have made this year.
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