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Lots of school kids are home sick with flu and respiratory viruses. That means frustrated parents are missing work

Wendy Ruderman, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Parenting News

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Her daughter spent a week in bed with fever, vomiting and lack of appetite. Back in September, she was out of school with a cold-like bug for three days. Mitchell said she's convinced that her daughter's school and others in LMSD are not sufficiently ventilated to reduce the risk of virus spread.

"Kids come home sick. They get us sick. We miss work. And it's just a vicious circle," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said she offered to donate a HEPA air filter to her daughter's classroom. Other parents are willing to do the same. "It's something so easy," Mitchell said.

The district, however, turned down her offer, citing a policy surrounding energy efficiency. In an email Tuesday to parents, Megan Shafer, the district's assistant to the superintendent, said the "LMSD's ventilation systems meet or exceed building code requirements" and the district follows federal, state and local health guidelines. Shafer said students can opt to wear masks.


Lorraine, medical director of the county's Office of Public Health, said he believes masks are actually better at protecting people from respiratory viruses and flu than for COVID.

Experts say families and students should wash their hands often and properly covering coughs and sneezes. Parents shouldn't revert to a strategy that some used for minor illnesses pre-pandemic — dose their sick kids with Tylenol or Motrin and send them off to school.

"It does have this ripple effect, where we see some schools with large numbers of kids absent," CHOP's Lockwood said.

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