Local school districts taking preventative flu measures

Checking in with some local school districts about their measures to prevent a flu outbreak.

Posted: Jan 29, 2018 6:39 PM
Updated: Jan 29, 2018 6:52 PM

Whitesboro, N.Y. - The Whitesboro School District is certainly happy they purchased several 'Clorox 360 System' disinfecting machines this school year.

With the number of flu cases rising across the country, those disinfecting machines are being used an awful lot in Whitesboro to spray down all touch points in schools, including door handles, desks, and chairs.

Whitesboro Schools Director of Facilities Kevin Storsberg says the machines have become critical for the district, "We not only use it in the schools, but the bus garage has their own machine. So they can go through and disinfect the buses so we can get the germs before they get into the school. And if there is someone who does get sick on the bus, we're able to address it right away. We are trying to get all touch points. It’s a concentration every day for us. From light switches, door handles, bathrooms, nurse's office, main offices, but a bus is definitely a first line of defense to keep things out."

In Oriskany, Mary Ruth Stopera, the school nurse at the Junior-Senior High School says all touch points there are wiped down on a daily basis with disinfectant wipes, and she says the school announcements each morning remind students about flu prevention, "I sent something out in the morning announcements that we have ways to prevent the flu and one of the key things is washing your hands. I told them was for at least 20 seconds, a good scrubbing with warm water with soap."

Utica Schools Administrative Director of Curriculum Lori Eccleston says the district's custodial staff each has areas they are responsible for each night to disinfect, including all known touch areas, "What our custodians are doing, as well as our cleaners, is wiping down high touch areas like we talked about, doorknobs, railings, handles, to everything in the bathroom."

Eccleston herself knows how dangerous the flu can be, as her own mother recently contracted the flu down in Florida, "My mother had the flu, this flu, but the time I got down there she was coming out of it. But she had to be hospitalized twice for dehydration, it was awful."

Eccleston says the district has seen 9 confirmed cases of the flu this season so far, which is on par with previous years to this point in the flu season, "We've seen it in the past, we've seen schools, isolated instances, where one school may have a number of the teachers out, and a lot of kids out, but this year we haven't seen any pockets of that yet."

Whitesboro and Oriskany have not had any confirmed cases of the flu, although in Oriskany, Stopera says there has been a bit of a spike in absences, so it does appear there is something that's been going around.

With the preventative measures, Stopera, Eccleston, and Storsberg are all hoping things continue to be a lot less severe here than in other parts of the country.

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