Hoping to stop the spread of classroom illness and minimize absences, Robin Lockrey, an Altoona kindergarten teacher, applied for Kinsa’s FLUency School Health Program.
Earlier this year, her school — Altoona Elementary — was one of 200 selected out of about 4,000 applicants to receive free Kinsa Smart Thermometers for all students and staff plus access to Kinsa’s app. (As of Oct. 20, enrollment in the K-3 school was at 595, according to district data.)
“She told me we won and said she was giving it to me to complete,” said Anita Schubring, the Altoona school district’s school nurse. “I don’t mind handoffs like that.”
This year, Kinsa is partnering with Lysol, so schools also will be provided with disinfectant products in an effort to keep their schools healthier, said Nita Nehru, director of the FLUency program. (In school, Schubring also talks to students about the importance of handwashing to prevent the spread of germs and coughing etiquette, using a puppet she calls “Coughy Cat.”)
Parents can begin ordering their thermometers, valued at $20 each, as early as next week, she said, and thermometers will be shipped out in early January.
“A normal thermometer will just give you a number,” she said. “The Kinsa Smart Thermometer will not only give you a number, but it also will guide you through the next steps.”
Once armed with their thermometers, users can:
• Track health history for a quicker diagnosis.
Kinsa’s free app tracks temperature, symptoms, medications and notes for each member of the family, allowing families to keep a record for themselves, physicians or the school nurse.
• View anonymous information on what’s going around. No personal information is ever shared, Nehru said.
Families and educators can join a private group for their school to see helpful stats on the common symptoms going around and what diagnoses other parents are reporting.
• Keep students healthier through earlier detection.
Parents can use the early knowledge of spreading illness to take their child to the doctor faster, get treatment sooner and help their school prevent sickness from spreading.
Knowing children get sick often and not all families have access to thermometers, Inder Singh, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Kinsa, wanted to do something to help, Nehru said.
The FLUency School Health Program is in its third year and has worked with hundreds of schools around the country, Nehru said.
“I think it’s a great thing,” said Schubring, who heard about the program last year at a school nurses conference, “and I am hoping it means less sick kids.”
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