Is this email factual, ambiguous, or not factual?

Please be honest about how you think/feel. Gauging our perception is useful. Also, we can handle being wrong and can respect opinions/perceptions that do not mirror our own.

Younger Child’s school sent out a mass email that reads:

We want to remind you of State Department of Health (DOH) guidelines to use when determining if your child is well enough to attend school. We have seen an increase in influenza cases and we want to be sure families remember these guidelines:

When to keep a child home from school:

  • Fever of 100 degrees (F) or more. The student should stay home for twenty four hours after the temperature returns to normal without medication

They then linked to a DoH document that says to keep a child home if they have the fever *with* a sore throat or cough.

1. Is it your initial perception that the school presented factual, ambiguous, or not factual information as pertains to DoH guidelines?

We emailed the school about our perception of a discrepancy. The school responded:

It is the best judgement of the parent /guardian to not send a student with a fever to school.  We included general information in the letter as well as the specific DoH Influenza Screener to help student / family member understand district and state guidelines.”

2. What does this reply mean? Does this reply acknowledge a discrepancy or not? If so, how does this reply explain the discrepancy? If not, how does it deny a discrepancy?

3. With all this information, do you now consider the school’s original wording factual, ambiguous, or not factual as pertains to DoH guidelines?

4. Let’s assume the school is trying to maximize the health and safety of the whole school district and the wider community. How should the institution balance the DoH guidelines with its own interests? In other words, how would you have worded the original email?

Can’t wait to read what others think. This can be fun!

23 thoughts on “Is this email factual, ambiguous, or not factual?

  1. My initial, undignified impression is that the school took the official recommendations (fever WITH) and then went a step further by eliminating the WITH. So I guess they are being extra careful? It could have been useful though for them to explain that they were doing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We got suspicious, which is a protective response for us: Danger! Danger! We like transparency, which they did not seem to embody. Yes, we think they could have explained their process. We are probably the only one of 10,000 recipients of this email who cared

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I suspect that the school is worried about coronavirus.

    The key thing here is differentiating serious illness from the common cold. The presence of fever is the most important distinction between the two. The DoH mention of the presence of cough or sore throat helps to specify that it’s a respiratory infection rather than, say, an ear infection, but it does nothing to distinguish the flu from a cold, so it’s not all that useful.

    The school’s guideline is simpler but serves the primary purpose, and where possible simpler is usually better.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Wow. This is what avoiding the news gets us. Duh. Coronavirus. We never thought of it. Thanks! We get scared when institutions tell us what parents’ “best judgment” is. Well, we’re picking up their fear of a pandemic perhaps 😷🤧🤒

      Liked by 1 person

        1. You see it for what it is. We have so much trouble doing that.

          We get so anxious and angry from what we perceive as obfuscation. Tricks. That we lose the message.

          As we wrote to LovingSummer, we agree with you that parents will not always do what is best for child. (Autocorrect made it “breast for the child.” which makes us think Sadie’s posts and your comments lol)

          Liked by 1 person

  3. DoH says stay home with fever and cough or sore throat, school says make sure the fever is down by itself for 24 hours before coming back.
    They’ve both worded it differently but it means much the same and so it doesn’t matter too much which you follow, the results will likely be the same.
    If you follow DoH, you stay away with a fever. What they don’t seem to ask for is the clear 24 hour period and they don’t seem to make it clear that normal temperature has to be achieved without mediation helping you! For that reason I think the school advice is more robust.
    Like ashleyleia rightly says, they’re spooked by Corona virus.

    You ask what people would have written? If it were me, I’d have written everything on the school website rather than link to DoH in case people don’t click to read. But I’d still have included DoH link for the sceptics who scoff at not coming into work to spread their love. 😷I mean their germs!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re probably right that the results will be the same. Most parents keep sick kids home, but when it’s a single parent or two working parents, they can’t always stay home with a feverish child. The temptation to send a kid to school absent other symptoms until they get sent home by the nurse is real 🤒😔

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it’s fairly uncommon to have a fever with no other symptoms, it’s more likely the symptoms were short lived or tolerable enough to ignore, but fever itself can make people feel pretty wretched sometimes and I would think they’re probably only talking about a minority of cases. I sympathise with the childcare problem though, it’s very hard for families. The only other factor for people to consider is that by sending kids into school you’re spreading the problem to other single-parent or two working families, instead of minimising that hit for others!

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Happens a lot at my kids school! Though like I said, I do sympathise with their plight. It’s not easy for people. I think it’s also tempting for people to think they’ve survived it so everyone else can take their chances! Of course people like me have no functioning immune system after chemo so I’m at a huge risk. (I wouldn’t have done it before that either though.)

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Do you avoid going out due to vulnerability to germs? Are you also having physical complications like eating and feeling ill? Sorry to ask so much.

              We have a permanent immune deficiency. It’s not too bad. We’re susceptible mostly to airborne illness. Since we don’t leave the house much, our infection risk is low.

              We had our annual immunology appointment this week, and the doctor said she wouldn’t take our blood anymore.

              just keep getting vaccinated and take antibiotics if we get a chest cold beyond 3 days. We used to take antibiotics every day September through May. Every year. Now, we don’t cuz of the staying home.

              We hope chemo helps your health

              Liked by 1 person

              1. You can ask anything!
                I had to avoid going out when the chemo first took place as my immune system was deliberately wiped out to zero, and so for the first 12 weeks I had to be on a chemo diet and stay out of public places, though the guidelines seem vary depending on where you live and some places are more strict than others, for example, in the US they stay on the chemo diet for a whole year.
                I felt a bit ropey to begin with and only felt worse when I pushed myself (which was a lot!). Although I’m susceptible to catching stuff I try to sit on the end of a row or stay away from obviously snotty kids, using hand gel all the time whenever I touch something like buttons on a cash machine or door handle, etc. But I have the safety net of monthly bloods for 5 years and a hotline to my GP surgery for antibiotics or antivirals should I need them (last had to resort to this over Christmas when I caught something that everyone else could throw off but my immune system couldn’t).
                I’m supposed to take antibiotics more easily than someone with a fully functioning immune system but I don’t like to take them if I don’t absolutely have to, so I try to string it out as long as I can to give my body a chance to fight it off – not entirely sure how without a functioning immune system!
                I hope your health remains stable and improves for you.

                Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, I realise I missed your question number 2. The reply means yes you’re right, we’ve added our own very good advice to the DoH guidelines. I would say this isn’t denying any discrepancy but explains it by telling you it’s adding to the guideline some general, sound, commonsense advice. It’s the sort of thing your grandmother the should have taught you, but a lot of time these commonsense guides seem to get lost these days.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Honestly, the School’s reply thoroughly confused me. However I think Ashley’s and LovingSummer’s explanations make sense.

    If it’s due to the coronavirus, the guidelines seem similar to that of my country’s government (we’ve 20 confirmed cases) for members of the public.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yah, we totally didn’t read between the lines on this. The email reply was like reading a legal contract 😩.

      We avoid news so Coronavirus is not on our mind. It must be on the mind of public health officials. They probably don’t want to panic anyone.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I avoid the news too so I only recently check in after public places and friends started taking precautionary measures.

        I think people are already panicking, I’ve had FB friends in the USA write about masks being sold out. In my country, the govt distributed stockpiled masks to each household because people were starting to hoard masks to sell at obscene prices.

        Even if it was as bad as the SARs virus, the regular flu kills more people per year tbh. I wouldn’t worry too much.

        Liked by 1 person

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