Flu season: keeping your children safe

The following information regarding this year’s flu season is from CSCSHC Corporation Nurse Heather Haycock:

As you all know, flu season is upon us. The number of reported cases of the flu/influenza in Indiana is rising quickly. This letter is to remind you of best practices if or when your child is exposed to flu.

The flu is highly contagious and can spread from person to person by breathing in the droplets in a cough, sneeze, or runny nose that contain the flu virus. People with the flu may be able to infect others by shedding virus as early as one full day before getting sick through a period five to seven days after symptoms begin.

Signs and Symptoms of the flu may include:

The flu comes on quickly. Most people with the flu feel very tired and may have a high fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, vomiting, or diarrhea.

If you suspect that you or a family member is sick, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Prevention

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccination for everyone 6 months and older
  • Hand washing with soap and water, especially before meals. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers will work
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw tissue in trash and wash hands
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect hard surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs, including bathroom surfaces, kitchen counters, and toys for children. Use household disinfectants according to directions.

When can my child return to school after having the flu?

Keep your child home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone and 24 hours after vomiting and/or diarrhea subsides without the use of medications.

Treatment

The flu can be treated with antiviral drugs. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen may be taken to reduce fever and increase comfort. Avoid products containing Aspirin. People with the flu need plenty of rest and fluids.

Your child’s medical information is kept confidential by the district, so please call the nurse’s office if your child has been diagnosed with the flu/influenza. Contact your school nurse or clinic assistant with any questions.

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Indiana State Police shares tips for staying safe on social media with CSCSHC families

Presenters from the Indiana State Police’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force offered Southern Hancock families some strategies and insights about how to keep children safe during the digital age.

The presentation happened Wednesday night at Doe Creek Middle School. It focused on how to protect your children from a number of dangerous types of online activity, including sextortion, sexting, online predators, and cyberbullying.

ISP provided us with some additional information about what was discussed in the presentation. We wanted to make sure that each and every CSCSHC parent had access to that information to help you monitor your children’s social media presence.

See the brochures below for more information on each of these topics:

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force also has additional resources available for parents. Visit netsmartz.org for more information about online safety. Any further questions can be directed via email to icacyouthed@isp.in.gov.

CSCSHC issues statement regarding IDOE 2017 graduation rate

The school district wishes to respond to the Indiana Department of Education’s recent announcement of 2017 graduation rates. The IDOE announced the graduation rate for New Palestine High School at 91.9%, which is significantly lower than expected due to some discrepancies in how students who either moved out-of-state or elected to enroll in homeschooling were reported.

These students are typically are not included in a school’s graduation rate. However, in this instance, they were inadvertently classified as non-graduates and included in the pool, which made the district’s graduation rate go down. Additionally, some students included in the pool never actually attended any classes at NPHS, but were still counted as non-graduates. The reasons all of these students were included in the pool is not yet clear.

The district is working closely with the IDOE to determine why these students were included. CSCSHC administrators are partnering with the IDOE to get these discrepancies rectified and to ensure accurate documentation of these students in the future.

Per the district’s records, with these students excluded from the pool, the expected graduation rate for the class of 2017 at New Palestine High School was approximately 97%, which would be an increase from the 2016 school year.

Doe Creek Middle School teachers and administrators invited to speak at Purdue STEM conference

Educators from Doe Creek Middle School were honored to be asked to speak at the Indiana STEM Education Conference at Purdue on Thursday. STEM is a curriculum based in teaching students about four specific subjects: Science. Technology, Education, and Mathematics.

Recently, the Indiana Department of Education began certifying schools or districts that “exemplify a highly non-traditional approach to education, employing a great deal of inquiry, project-based learning, community engagement, entrepreneurship, student-centered classrooms, integration into humanities and related arts, and out of school STEM activities.”

In 2017, DCMS became one of only 32 STEM Certified schools statewide. One of the keys to becoming STEM Certified is finding ways to integrate STEM across several other subject areas. The presentation by the DCMS educators at Purdue focused on ways to collaborate on STEM across the rest of the curriculum, including areas of Language Arts, Social Studies, and Unified Arts.

Educators from around the state attend the conference to learn about STEM education and the process of becoming STEM Certified.

The DCMS presentation group was made up of Lisa Clouse, Mary Jones, Michelle Bloomer, Sarah Gizzi, and DCMS Principal Jim Voelz.

Did You Know: How we decide to delay or close school

As we prepare to welcome students back for the second semester, and with several other districts closing or delaying school within the past few days due to inclement weather, we wanted to offer some insight into how and why we decide to close or delay school.

First and foremost, CSCSHC’s main priority is the safety of our students. The district has Inclement Weather Guidelines posted on our website to help ensure that our decisions are made with student safety in mind. Below are a few highlights of these guidelines that deal specifically with winter weather situations:

Extreme cold

  • We will begin to consider delaying school at an air temperature of -10 and/or a wind chill of -19. In the event these conditions are expected to continue until after the delay would be over, the district will consider closing school for the day.
  • To make these determinations, we use hourly forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The NOAA has also provided this chart to determine wind chill. We pair the above hourly forecast with local wind measurements to calculate expected wind chills in our area.

Snow

  • Total snowfall (forecasted or actual) is less important than the conditions of the roads within the district. In some cases, 1″ of unexpected snowfall may make the roads more hazardous than several inches of expected snowfall. Unless conditions are particularly extreme, decisions will likely be made in the morning.
  • District administrators will drive a number of roads within the district at approximately 4 a.m. Due to the geographic size of our district and time constraints, it is not possible for our administrators to see each and every road within the district. The conditions of the roads that our administrators do see will then be used to make a determination regarding school for that day.

Freezing rain or sleet

  • This is one of the most challenging decisions to make due to the potential for rapidly deteriorating road conditions. For these reasons, when freezing rain or sleet are forecasted, we will wait as long as we can in order to have the most current road conditions before making a decision regarding school.

Keeping your child home from school

  • The district respects any parent’s decision regarding their child’s attendance at school during inclement weather. If school is open, or delayed because of inclement weather, the district will respect the parent’s decision to keep their child at home. Parents are expected to contact the school and inform school officials of their decision. The student will be counted as absent (per state code) and students will be given an opportunity to complete their academic work in the same manner as an excused absence from school.

Where to get information on closings or delays:

  • There are a number of ways to receive notifications when school is closed or delayed:
    • An email will be sent to all parents that have signed up for PowerSchool. If you wish to sign up for these emails, you may do that here. Instructions on how to sign up are available here.
    • Delays or closings will be posted on the district’s Facebook page (search @SouthernHancock) and Twitter account @SouthernHancock.
    • A push notification will be sent to users of our mobile app, which is available on iTunes and in the Google Play store by searching “Southern Hancock.”
    • Local media (WTHR Channel 13, Fox59, CBS4, RTV6, WISH-TV Channel 8) put closings and delay information on the bottom of the screen. Those channels also typically make closings and delays available on their respective websites.

E-Learning days

  • In the event school is canceled for the day, an E-Learning day will be called.
  • Teachers will hold “office hours” on E-Learning days at 10am-11am and 7pm-8pm. During these times, teachers will be immediately available to answer questions via e-mail. Teachers may available at other times throughout the day at their own discretion.
  • In the event a student has technical issues during an E-Learning day, the following technical support phone numbers are available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.:
    • General Tech Line – 317-620-1718
    • Macbook Support Line – 317-620-1794
    • iPad Support – 317-620-1743