With the incubation period for walking pneumonia one to four weeks, the school and health departments are again reminding parents to keep students home from school and see a pediatrician if their children experience fever, cough or fatigue.
The symptoms of mycoplasma pneumonia, commonly known as walking pneumonia, are similar to the flu and or other cold-like illnesses and can include shortness or breath or wheezing, especially in children with asthma.
Several cases of walking pneumonia have been discovered in the elementary schools after an outbreak in a first grade class about three weeks ago, according to letters emailed to parents from Superintendent Bella T. Wong and Health Director Lenny Izzo.
They also wrote that incidents of the infection are still being seen at some of the town’s elementary schools, with some of the most recent cases being siblings of those who have already had the infection.
The letter reminds parents about return-to-school guidelines which include being fever-free without medication for 24 hours and being on an antibiotic - if prescribed - for 24 hours before returning to school. Students should also be “feeling well, eating, drinking and back to his/her regular routine,” according to the letter.
It continues by telling parents that keeping their child home until he or she is completely better not only protects other students from infection, but allows them to “have the energy and stamina to be an active member in the classroom.”
At the middle and high schools, where being out sick does not excuse students from classwork or homework deadlines, students sometimes feel pressure to return to school before they are completely better so they don’t fall too far behind.
Students are also being reminded to frequently wash their hands and use “coughing etiquette,” which is making sure your mouth is covered when coughing or sneezing.
Seats are also being adjusted where needed to increase the distance between students.