PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Several Oregon school districts in different parts of the state are seeing a larger-than-usual numbeer of kids missing school because they’re sick the past few weeks.
Officials with the Hillsboro School District told KOIN 6 News student absences are up about 33% from this time last year. Schools in Umatilla County were closed Tuesday due to illness.
Both students and teachers were out sick a day before the Thanksgiving break.
But many school districts told KOIN 6 News they don’t keep track of why children are absent other than reported as sick calls.
Pediatricians who spoke with KOIN 6 News said much of what is being passed around is RSV and the flu — both highly contagious. They said now is the time to talk about how to protect the youngest and oldest who are invited guests for Thanksgiving dinner.
The talk should include how much risk people are willing to take. Keep in mind these contagious viruses live on surfaces for quite some time. Among the suggestions:
- Don’t share glasses, dishes or silverware
- Keep sick kids away from everyone (which may be difficult)
- Give invited guests permission not to come if they are sick or at high risk
Dr. Ann Loeffler, a pediatrician and Multnomah County Deputy Health Officer, said for the most vulnerable people, “maybe it’s going to be a drive-by and you’re going to put a care package with their dinner. Everyone’s going to say hi, maybe they’ll keep the little baby in the car, someone’s gonna drop off dinner to grandma, we’re going to do a Zoom and we’re going to find a game online that we can all play.”
It’s kind of like resuming COVID protocols — opening windows, using air purifiers, getting air flowing can help during indoor gatherings. Put on a mask if you choose when socializing.
And have someone on duty to wipe down surfaces and designate someone to serve the food rather than having everyone touch the serving spoons.
One final tip: put clean towels in the bathroom — disposable paper hand towels instead of having people use the same cloth towel over and over.
With all of that, enjoy!