Outbreak at CHS: Are we having one?

Jaci South

Over the weekend, an email was sent out to parents and students, reminding them to wash their hands and stay home if they’re sick. This email is a result of both the Coronavirus and the flu. Many students are wondering: should we be worried?

The short answer (at least in regards to Corona) is no. There have only been 4 positive cases of Corona in Illinois and none in Missouri. Of those in Illinois, they have all been in the Chicago area, so we are in a generally low risk area. In addition to that, most cases of Corona and all cases of fatality from Corona in the United States has been the elderly. The 5 who have died in the US, all Washington state residents, were all elderly people from the same nursing home. So, no, we don’t have a whole lot to worry about in regards to the Coronavirus.

The flu is a different story. Many students have been out with the flu, as well as staff (looking at you, Mrs. Hammel). Other kids have come down with flu-like symptoms, but tested negative. Why is the virus spreading? The flu itself can be very contagious. According to the Center for Disease Control, people infected with the flu virus are most contagious in the 3 to 4 days of their illness. However, most healthy adults and young adults are going to be contagious the day before symptoms begin and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems have an even longer period of being contagious.

This means that, if you have the flu, you should be out of school for at least a full week or more depending on your personal health. If you’re like me, you laugh at this idea. 5 days out of school? If you miss 5 days of school, you have to take all of your exams, you get a truancy letter, and in Rhetoric and Composition, you will no longer be able to get an A (the SWIC rule is that you would not be able to pass the class). That is the root of why the flu is spreading quickly. It isn’t a lack of washing hands or improper sneezing posture. Kids are scared to miss much school. On top of that, it’s musical season! Although Mama Coop tells us to stay home and get better, missing a week of practice this close to the show is a terrifying concept.

So what can you do? Stay home if you’re sick. Now, because let’s be honest, none of us follow that advice to the letter, get your flu shot. Even if you get the flu despite getting the shot, symptoms are nowhere near as bad. Instead of being in bed for a week, you can be non-contagious and well after a few days. Hit up Walmart – ask for the pharmacist with short hair, she’s a great shot giver.