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Millcreek Journal

Granite School District doubles down on efforts to prevent illnesses this winter

Jan 05, 2023 02:19PM ● By Lizzie Walje

While statistics affirm that the chokehold of Covid-19 has lessened, in a September White House press briefing, federal health officials claimed that with an average of 400 deaths each day, this number of fatalities is “still too high.” Moreover, as we enter the long stretch of winter, it’s become evident that Covid has joined the ranks of routine illnesses Americans should highly consider vaccinating against. 

What are these other routine illnesses? Most notably, winter marks flu season, and according to a recent post by the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah is currently facing what might just end up being its worst season in a while as cases and hospitalizations surge.

  “This uptick comes after flu cases decreased dramatically in the first years of the coronavirus pandemic, and Utah isn’t alone—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported similar trends across the country,” the article stated.

Incidentally, there’s yet another illness making the rounds this holiday season. The respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV, is surging in cases across the country. As of November 2022, cases of RSV and other respiratory illnesses are showing sharp increases across the country. The main demographic affected? Children. 

With a triple threat of illness on the horizon, schools across the nation, including those in Granite School District, are working hard to remind parents and students to remain vigilant against illness and not to be fooled by the shift back into normalcy. Just because social distancing is no longer actively enforced, doesn’t mean that risks aren’t present. 

Granite School District took to its social media pages to remind students and families of the following: “Cold and flu season is here and although Covid-19 case counts in the Granite School District have remained low, we’d like to remind students and families about the proper protocols for staying home when sick. If a student is feeling sick or demonstrating any symptoms of Covid-19, or any other illness, they should stay home.”

As of now, testing is particularly helpful because if one is ill and can rule out Covid-19 as the cause, they can take further action to get tested for RSV, the flu, or other respiratory infections. Taking control of your health and getting a proper diagnosis can help dictate the best course of treatment. Moreover, because RSV is largely affecting children, it’s yet another illness families should be aware of. With children spending more time in close quarters during the colder months, maintaining wellness becomes a districtwide priority. 

“If you have symptoms, we highly encourage that you test,” Granite School District asserted on their Facebook page. “Those who test positive should isolate for five days. Please see our website for Health Department Guidelines. Masks (including KN95) are available for students and staff upon request at your school.” 

As always, vaccines are one of the most effective ways to ward off illness and remain healthy during the winter months. It is advised that those who are eligible should consider receiving a Covid-19 booster and a general flu shot. Especially children who will be interacting in close quarters for the next handful of months. 

In an effort to mitigate cases, Covid-19 vaccines remain free, and appointments can be scheduled at major retailers such as Walgreens, Walmart, and CVS. Grocery store pharmacies also have availability for appointments and stock of both Covid-19 and flu vaccines. For those who haven’t received a Covid-19 or flu vaccination before, it’s never too late to get your first dose. These vaccinations have been proven effective and are considered beneficial for the vast majority of people.  

As for schools? The biggest takeaway is for students to self-isolate and stay out of the classroom if they feel sick. Although Covid-19’s overall threat level has decreased, what we have learned from its presence remains helpful. Social distancing, isolation, and masking up help reduce the spread. These safety measures aren’t just helpful for Covid-19 mitigation, but for preventing the spread of the flu and RSV. 

For more information regarding districtwide policies and responses to Covid-19 and other illnesses, Granite School District has guidelines on its website, including protocol for students who test positive.