Ringing in the new year is a very hopeful time full of new beginnings and resolutions. However, along with new year aspirations come many challenges, such as the peak of cold and flu season and wintery, inclement weather. Preventative measures are necessary in both areas to ensure that our students are healthy and safe.

To prevent widespread cold and flu in the school, we recommend that your children stay home from school if they are experiencing the following flu or cold symptoms:

• Fever (greater that 100 degrees - child returns only after fever free for 24 hours without the aid of fever reducing medication.

• Vomiting, diarrhea (24 hours without vomiting or diarrhea).

• Chills, muscles aches.

• Frequent croupy-sounding cough.

• Lots of nasal congestion with frequent blowing of nose.

Make sure to contact your child's school to let them know why they are absent and to request homework. When your child returns to school, all doctors' notes are to be turned in to the attendance office. To prevent the flu and other colds, teach your children good hygiene habits:

• Wash hands frequently.

• Do not touch eyes, nose or mouth.

• Cover mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing.

• Avoid close contact with sick people.

• Get a flu vaccination.

In the case of inclement winter weather such as ice, sleet or snow, the district is prepared if conditions become too dangerous and school needs to be closed. The decision to close schools or modify the school day, when adverse weather conditions are present, will be made by the superintendent. Every attempt will be made to finalize the decision to close school prior to the following day; however, the final decision will be made no later than 5 a.m. of the closed school day. Families would be notified if school is closed or delayed through a variety of ways:

• A phone call sent from School Messenger, the district's automated phone notification system.

• The district website at www.Tahlequahschools.org.

• Checking local television stations, including the Channel 2-KJRH, Channel 6-KOTV, Channel 8-KTUL and Channel 23-KOKI.

• Checking local radio station AM Radio -740 KRMG

• Facebook. The Daily Press Facebook should also have details.

We will strive together with families to make TPS a healthy and safe place for students to get an exceptional educational experience. Thank you for helping us bring in the new year as healthy and safe as possible during the winter season.

Leon Ashlock is superintendent of the Tahlequah I-35 School District.

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