The North Bend Eagle

 


NBC one of six receiving thermometers to track COVID

Tools and app originally used to track flu spread now being used to find COVID-19 hotspots.

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 9/2/20

North Bend Central is one of six schools in Nebraska who will receive thermometers from the initial order by the Nebraska Cooperative Government organization of 12,000 thermometers from a company called Kinsa.

Kensa therm and app

The NCG represents over 100 rural communities in Nebraska. It is supported by Nebraska Lotto and decided to use the funds to help schools keep students healthy.

NBC school nurse Megan Brokaw first learned of the Kinsa app connected thermometers in 2019 and applied for the program the maker had to get the thermometers out in public use. She got the word out and 96 families signed up and received free thermometers. That was in October 2019.

The main purpose of these thermometers was to track flu outbreaks.

“I ordered 105 last year,” Brokaw said. “There are still 66 that are active. This year I’m trying to get as many as I can. I want to get them out to everybody.”

With 2020 bringing a pandemic, the thermometers have now been given a new task: screeining for COVID-19.

The parents take the students temperature daily and enter any other symptoms the child may be having. The parents will need to download the app and it will look at the symptoms and give suggestions on what action to take, whether the child needs to be taken to physician or observed at home.

As before, whenever the child is ill, his name is not entered into the app. Brokaw can only see what grade the student is in. If a number of students in the same grade have the same symptoms, whether it be a stomach ache or temperature, she can notify the families with children in that age group to be on the lookout for similar symptoms/illnesses.

As reported in a North Bend Eagle article on Nov. 13, 2019, the manufacturer had thermometers in over 1,400 schools participating in their FLUency program, tracking outbreaks of the seasonal flu.

This year the cards are a little different. With COVID-19 out there, the temperatures give University of Nebraska researchers a way to get ahead of the virus, finding ‘hotspots’ weeks before they are even reported.

When a child presents two or more symptoms of COVID-19 at NBC schools, they are sent home with a communication sheet for the parents on what has to happens to have the student return to school. If the child does test positive for COVID at either their doctor’s office or a COVID test site, they will be quarantined for at least 10 days. After the 10-day period, they may return after symptoms show improvement and no fever has been observed for 24 hours. Students not tested will follow the same procedure but may return to school earlier if they have a different diagnosis from a doctor.

 

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