Scholastic sweatshop spawns plague-like symptoms

Scholastic sweatshop spawns plague-like symptoms

Microbes breeding in the scholastic petri dish known as West have spawned a “back to school plague” more visceral than what has been seen in years past. Students and staff find themselves trapped in germ-filled rooms as particles of bacteria travel at light speed throughout the school. Despite reminders of simple tasks such as handwashing and the use of sanitizer to protect against viruses, efforts to combat illnesses have been ineffective, if the recent outbreak of ailments offers any clue. School nurse Stefanie Rebholz has seen a plethora of viruses just weeks into the new school year.

“We have seen a mix of illnesses so far this year,” she said. “There have been some common colds and illnesses beyond the colds as well as some gastrointestinal diseases. We are also starting to see more upper respiratory viruses than in years past.”

Despite the mix of illnesses seen by Rebholz and the West population, the protocol for how to deal with these diseases remains the same. Students, like senior Tommy Beck, view the recent outbreak as a result of those infected not staying home.

“School is a big place where germs can run wild,” he said. “It doesn’t help if some kids come to school while they are sick, because we’re all trapped inside with those kids who are infecting others.”

Although absences from school due to illnesses can help in the recovery process, not all ailments require the need to stay home.

“If students have a fever of over 100 or if they are vomiting or have diarrhea, then those would be times we would tell them to say home,” Rebholz said.

The cold, however, is not included in these illnesses that need to be kept away from school as it does not spread like something from a Resident Evil movie.

“With a common cold, students certainly can come to school as long as they make sure to cover their nose and mouth when they sneeze or cough, as well as wash their hands,” Rebholz said.

Staff members like biology teacher Sara Dobish attribute the spreading of viruses to the change in the environment as summer ends and the school year begins.

“Students and staff are getting sick because, at this time of year, we are all enclosed with each other a lot more,” she said. “In the summer, the germs are still there, but we are outside a lot more and school isn’t in session, so we don’t have all of these people together and breathing on each other.”

When it comes to protecting one’s body against the annual school plague, students and staff are finding numerous ways to combat possible contraction of illnesses.

“To keep healthy, I’ve just been washing my hands and keeping my distance from kids who are clearly sick,” Beck said. “I also make sure I eat nutritious foods and drink lots of fluids.”

Like Beck, Dobish also recognizes the importance of keeping your body safe.

“An easy way to prevent illnesses is to not stick things in your mouth or rub your eyes,” she said. “The eyes are the number one portal for you to get sick and it is important to not develop these infectious habits.”

When it comes to finding a solution, Rebholz views the flu shot as a simple answer to limit the spread.

“The flu shot is really something that is highly recommended for all students, but it is a personal preference and some just don’t get them,” she said. “Numerous places start giving the flu shot any time from now all the way through winter. Although it doesn’t mean you’re never going to get it, it just helps to lessen the symptoms.”

When it comes to the flu shot, there are two types that are available: the quad and the tri. Dobish explains the scientific differences between the two.

“When you get your shot, it is important to ask for the quad as they don’t automatically give it to you,” she said. “The quad is better as it has four strands as opposed to three so it is just an extra layer of protection.”

Ultimately, Rebholz understands the importance of keeping personal items to oneself as sharing items with others also involves the spreading of germs.

“Don’t share water bottles or drink other people’s bottles. Keep your personal items to yourself as you don’t ever want to have somebody else’s germs on your things because you just don’t know what is going on with their body,” she said.

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