LAPS NEWS RELEASE
Medical professionals are warning the public that we could be in for a higher incidence of colds and flu illnesses this season. Covid-19 is also a health risk factor as well as RSV among young children and infants. Los Alamos Public Schools recognizes the concerns of students and families as we approach the winter months and encourages everyone to take basic precautions to combat the spread of illness.
“We cannot emphasize enough the importance of hand washing, and using respiratory hygiene, and cough etiquette”. Michele Wright, school nurse at Chamisa Elementary said. “And if a student is sick, they should stay home from school, and communicate with the school nurse”.
Families are also encouraged to have students vaccinated against the flu and Covid-19.
Dr. Ben Neal, with the Los Alamos Children’s Clinic, reports that Los Alamos and the rest of the country have seen a dramatic increase in respiratory illness since the spring or 2022. This surge has coincided with the lifting of Covid restrictions and removal of masks in social settings.
“In the spring we were seeing influenza, rhino/enterovirus, norovirus and strep,” he noted. “A small number of Covid-19 and influenza A cases have been identified recently.”
Dr. Neal noted that nationally and in New Mexico there has been a particularly aggressive rhino/enterovirus which starts as a cold and progresses to a prolonged cough. H
“We have seen an increase in RSV in both infants and older kids over the last week, and we are also seeing croup, which is parainfluenza,” he said.
LAPS recommends that if a student is sick, they should stay at home until symptoms subside. Click here for additional guidance regarding a sick child or refer to your school’s Student and Family Handbook.
Covid-19 cases at LAPS school sites have remained low since the start of the school year. The current percentage of positive cases in a 14-day window is 2 or less. Home Covid-19 testing kits are available from the District Office or from the school nurse. The current Covid-19 Response Toolkit from the New Mexico Public Education Department states that quarantine is no longer recommended for individuals exposed to Covid-19 except in certain high-risk settings. Schools in general are not high-risk settings.
LAPS is fortunate to have a full-time nurse on staff at each school site. LAPS school nurses offer these tips for remaining healthy during the upcoming months:
|• First and foremost, take care of yourself. It’s important to stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables.|
• Getting plenty of sleep is essential.
• Always, stay home if you are not feeling well. This will help to prevent the spread of illness.
• Please consider wearing a mask if you are feeling ill. This will help decrease the spread of germs that cause illness.
• Frequently wash your hands and practice good hygiene.
• Covid-19 is still active, so please consider testing yourself if you have symptoms.
• If you have questions about what type of illness you have, you can find more information at: Cold Versus Flu | CDC
By incorporating a few extra measures, it may be possible to decrease the spread of illness.