Dear Wellesley Public School Families and Staff:
We are writing to inform you about cases of pneumonia in the Wellesley Public School community. As of last week, there were cases isolated in the first grade at the Schofield School. A letter was sent to the parents at Schofield with information regarding pneumonia, and the steps taken at school to minimize further exposure. Simultaneously, the school nurses throughout the District were informed and careful surveillance in each school was initiated. Hand washing and cough etiquette has been reviewed and reinforced in the classrooms.
Today, we have isolated cases at other elementary schools; hence, this letter to the entire school community, so everyone is working with the same information.
The type of pneumonia being diagnosed is mycoplasma pneumonia, also known as “walking pneumonia”. The symptoms are typically fever, cough and fatigue, but can also include some wheezing and shortness of breath, especially in children with asthma. These symptoms are also similar to flu or cold-like illnesses. If your child is exhibiting these symptoms, we advise you to keep your child home from school and contact your pediatrician for evaluation and indicate that there have been other cases of pneumonia within the district. You can find more information about mycoplasma pneumonia at the CDC website.
Please remember that with any illness, your child can return to school only after he/she is fever free without medication for twenty-four hours; has been on antibiotic therapy (if indicated) for twenty-four hours, and is feeling well, eating, drinking and back to his/her regular routine. It is very important that you keep the nurse at your child’s school informed of any contagious illness, so they can track and trend within the school and take appropriate measures as needed.
Hand washing and cough etiquette have been reviewed in the elementary school classrooms. The custodial staff is routinely cleaning frequently touched surfaces. Elementary school seating arrangements are being assessed and may be adjusted to increase distance between students. Hand washing and cough etiquette are the best line of defense in preventing illness. It would be helpful to review good hand washing hygiene and cough etiquette with all family members. Please do not hesitate to contact the nurse at your child’s school or the Wellesley Health Department if you have any questions or concerns specific to your child.
The Wellesley Health Department has been consulted throughout the week and has been kept apprised of the situation at each school involved. The School Department will continue to monitor the incidence of pneumonia in each school and work with the Wellesley Health Department for direction. Thank you for your support as we work together for a healthier school community.
Bella Wong Superintendent Wellesley Public Schools
Lenny Izzo Director Wellesley Health Department