A Little Swine Flu To Go With Your Learning?

Anyone? No?

As most schools are, we are currently on Swine Flu Watch. Unfortunately, my classroom has turned into something resembling a hospital waiting room what with all the allergy issues, asthma related breathing problems, spring colds and hacking coughs. But I am vigilant. Vigilant in my search for Swine Flu-esque symptoms. Or really, any symptoms that say Why the Heck Did Your Parents Send You To School Today When You Looked Like This?? Some schools have parents who are afraid their children to class because of the fear of sickness. I have parents (multiple parents) who lately have taken to dropping their children off, mentioning to me that they have a) been throwing up all night, b) have a fever of almost 100 or c) can’t seem to stop coughing before they run out the door. Perhaps my favorite of these folks was the non-working parent who also thought to tell me she was sending her son to school because she didn’t want him to stay home and get the other little brother sick. Granted, she told me to call if her son seemed “really bad”, but to me throwing up all night/high fever/incessant coughing equals “really bad” and enough reason to stay home for a day.

One of these friends was Big Boy. It was so sad. He tried so hard all morning to do what we were doing and seem alert. But by 10:30 he had his head down, was partly asleep and had snot running all over his desk. In short, he was a mess. In an act of mercy, I sent him down to the nurse with a buddy an Official Pass. (God forbid I forget to use an Official Pass because a post it note just won’t do.)

So Big Boy is gone for awhile and I’m thinking, maybe he’s going to get to go home and get some much needed sleep. Big Boy comes up for his back pack and jacket. A good sign…

Then he tells me (read: wheezes) that he needs to wait upstairs (cough cough) for his mom to (hack sniff) come and get him.

Lately, thanks to the Swine Flu, we have been inundated with information that states we are to isolate the individual with the flu like symptoms until they are able to leave the building. We are, under no circumstances, to keep the child in the classroom.

I dig out another Official Pass and scribble a note suggesting that perhaps, just perhaps, we allow Big Boy to rest in her office, where it is quiet and I don’t know, contained, until his mother comes. Big Boy goes back down stairs.

One minute later, Big Boy comes back upstairs (I’m sure that sort of intense cardio is awesome for flu sufferers) with another note that reads, “Dear Mrs. Mimi, I do not want to catch whatever this boy has. Please keep him in YOUR classroom until his mother comes.”

Um. What? I’m fairly certain that sick children come with the territory, friend. I hear you on not wanting to get sick…but when you’re the nurse? Call me crazy, but maybe, just maybe, keeping the OTHER CHILDREN germ free should be the priority. I’m just sayin…

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  • Two of my students went to Mexico over spring break. They are cousins and wanted to catch up with an uncle who, for the past several years, was traveling incognito in an effort to evade law enforcement. (I’m not sure if it was US or Mexican police – the duo was a little cagey on that detail.) They returned, one has been fine, but the other. The girl? She throws up. A LOT. She’s pregnant, so I thought the barfing was pregnancy-related. She’s been in class once since Easter, but she does manage to get to her fourth period class. I bumped into her in the hall last week and she announced that she has swine flu. For real, she says. I asked if she’d been to the doctor, and she said, “No, but for real. I’ve got swine flu.” I asked why she thinks so, and she said, “I’ve been sick. For real.”

    A few days later, the cousin told me that she did make it to the doctor and was told that she has morning sickness, not swine flu. For real.

    On the one hand, I’m quite thrilled that she doesn’t have swine flu. But on the other, she is PREGNANT. This girl can’t take care of herself, much less a child. I’m kind of thinking that swine flu would be a better diagnosis.

    But enough about me.

    I’m glad it’s okay for you to tend to the sick kids while the office remains quarantined. Where is that little tidbit in your job description?

    May 24, 2009 at 10:57 pm
  • Does your school at least admit there’s a problem? They’re dropping like flies at mine, and the Powers That Be keep telling us that a little May flu is totally normal. I guess that’s why our attendance is down 10-12%.

    Having said that- this week I had headaches, chills, high fevers, some respiratory crap, and stomach pains that would not quit. I slept 12 hours one night. One of my classes has 6 kids with siblings that attend St. Francis Prep, the Ground Zero of swine flu. Two of their siblings WERE IN MEXICO OVER SPRING BREAK! But NOOOO- we don’t have a problem. And I know I had swine flu.

    May 24, 2009 at 11:40 pm
  • The school nurse sent back a sick child?? REALLY!!!

    You win!! That is just nuts. I can not top this laziness.

    May 25, 2009 at 2:29 am
  • That’s riDICulous! What kind of damn nurse sends a kid back to infect a roomful of students and staff?! moron….

    May 25, 2009 at 4:04 am
  • That woman sounds like a complete freakin’ MORON!!! How the HELL does she have a job, that lazy bitch?! So, it’s better to infect an entire classroom full of children, not to mention YOU, than to have the poor baby sit in her office, where she probably has a mask to wear if she’s that worried about catching something. What an assbag!!

    May 25, 2009 at 7:33 am
  • This reminds me of the time when I had a student pass out in my class. I sent another student to run (not walk, run) to the office to get the nurse. Instead of coming to my room to see the child who had passed out, she responded by giving the runner a note.

    “Send him to my office when he wakes up.”

    May 25, 2009 at 10:12 am
  • Thats a little weird! She doesn’t want to catch what he has, so she thinks its better for you and all of the students in your classroom to get it instead? Anyway I’d think that if she washed her hands and wiped down the places where he sat, letting him wait there wouldn’t have been a big deal!

    May 25, 2009 at 6:26 pm
  • That nurse if just being lazy. That’s her damn job. She needs to be fired.

    May 25, 2009 at 8:22 pm
  • you should have sent back a note that said, “put your big nurse pants on and do your dam job”

    May 26, 2009 at 6:03 am
  • Ugh! What is it with nurses?? We used to have an awesome one, now we’re stuck with a crappy one too. She sends kids back to class with a trash bag to sit on if they have an accident. Real good for their self-esteem! And heaven forbid someone get sick on her HOUR long lunch. She will not see anyone and usually takes even more than an hour. Us teachers get the standard 30 minutes that is never really 30 minutes. I hope she caught Big Boy’s sickness anyway! Hope you stay healthy!

    May 26, 2009 at 2:35 pm
  • One of my teachers sent a nauseous kid down to the nurse. He was back upstairs within five minutes with the pass, on which the nurse had sarcastically scribbled, “I’m nauseous too.” End result: the student threw up in the classroom.

    …are you sure we don’t work at the same school?

    May 26, 2009 at 8:59 pm
  • Wow, I’m starting to appreciate our nurse. She makes “room calls” all the time. She even checked in on me (twice) when I had a scratch that she was afraid was getting infected.

    May 27, 2009 at 3:20 am
  • We don’t even have a nurse. If one of our 1000+ kids gets sick or hurt, we have counseling office clerks to help them. They can’t even take a decent phone message, so you can figure out how well that works.

    May 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm
  • That’s just not right to have no nurse.

    My wife used to be a school nurse, and got sick of being required to cover 2-3 schools, driving back and forth between them as needed to wherever their were sick kids.

    May 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm
  • I’ve worked at schools where there is one nurse who rotates from school to school. Which means we have a nurse on campus about once a week.

    Most of my students are immigrants (illegal or otherwise) and from low SES backgrounds. Most likely the only “health insurance” they get is from the school nurse.

    That said, what the nurse did to you was so not cool.

    May 31, 2009 at 2:42 am
  • bun2bon has a valid point. When my wife worked shifts at a high school in a lwo income area, she was basically acting as a PCP to a lot of kids. She didn’t want to be, but was put in that position.

    May 31, 2009 at 2:49 am
  • People with regular exposure to pigs are at increased risk of swine flu. More than 1100 people worldwide have died from swine flu since it emerged in Mexico and the US in April, according to the latest figures from the World.

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    August 26, 2009 at 8:54 am

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