December 1, 2019
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving Break and are ready to return to school tomorrow. We eagerly await the return of our students for the final weeks of our first semester.
I notified you prior to Thanksgiving Break that we had one confirmed case of Pertussis (Whooping Cough). Over the break, I was notified that we have four additional confirmed cases in DPS #170. The cases are confirmed at Jefferson, Reagan Middle, and Dixon High School. DPS #170 has been diligently following our cleaning and disinfecting protocols in ALL buildings prior to our first confirmed case. We will continue our practices throughout the winter months when viruses continue to be at their highest levels.
DPS #170, KSB Hospital, and the Lee County Health Department are partnering together to try to reduce exposure to people with Pertussis. Beginning Monday, December 2nd and Tuesday, December 3rd, there will be KSB and LCHD nurses in all our buildings assisting our nurses in identifying Pertussis symptoms. We hope that timely medical evaluation and treatment will assist in reducing the spread of Pertussis in Dixon Public Schools and Lee County.
Our protocol in each building will be to inform our teachers to identify students who may be coughing in their classrooms. If teachers feel this is an ongoing cough, then they will send the student to the building nurse to assess their symptoms. Our goal is to not over identify students which is why we have multiple nurses onsite. The building nurse will assess the student, and if there are concerns about Pertussis, they will contact the parent or guardian about next steps. If the student does not present symptoms of concern they will be sent back to class.
If the parent/guardian gives consent, the KSB and LCHD nurses can provide a Pertussis test onsite. A Pertussis test consists of a Nasopharyngeal swab (nose swab) for B. Pertussis. Parents do not have to consent to the onsite test and can take their child to the primary care physician. Either way, parents/guardians must pick their child up from school until the child receives test results or is asymptomatic. KSB will run the test results and will have you fill out an insurance form upon picking up your child. Test results will be available by the end of each day. Please have your insurance cards ready and with you when picking up your child. You will receive a bill from KSB once insurance is filed. By providing the Pertussis test onsite, it saves you the cost of an office visit and believe it makes it more convenient for the parent/guardian.
If a student tests positive for Pertussis, they will be administered antibiotics and will be out of school for five (5) days. If a student’s test is negative for Pertussis, they will be allowed to return to school that day.
I appreciate our partnerships with KSB and the Lee County Health Department. Our commitment is keeping students and families healthy to optimize their educational experience. If you have any questions regarding Pertussis or our process, please contact Sherry Hafer our District Nurse at (815) 284-7723.
Margo D. Empen
Margo D. Empen/Superintendent