Web Exclusive: Arkansas schools stopping the flu through technology

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FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA) — Nearly three dozen elementary schools in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley are participating in a national school health program to help fight illness in classrooms with the help of smart thermometers. 

This initiative, called the FLUency program, is a national health program by Kinsa, a company that makes smart thermometers and tracks the flu in real-time.

The FLUency program offers free smart thermometers to all families in participating schools.

The thermometer connects to the Kinsa app so parents can see what illness is going around their schools in order to take precautions with their child’s health.

School nurses are also able to communicate easily with parents to alert them of illnesses being reported in the schools. 

Early detection is key to stop the spread of flu, strep throat and more.

That’s why schools like Christ the King Catholic School in Fort Smith are joining this program to be more proactive in fighting the spread of germs and viruses with the simple click of a button.

“If my kid says oh my throat hurts I can say well yeah there’s been three cases of strep throat in your class this week we need to go to the doctor,” Christ the King Catholic School Advancement Director Katie Kratzberg said.

Kratzberg also has two children that attend the Fort Smith school.

She said she is glad the school joined the Kinsa FLUency program because parents like her can get ahead of illnesses before they get out of control in the classroom.

“If my child is diagnosed let’s say the flu I can go into the app and actually mark that she’s in first grade,” Kratzberg said. “I can see her name but no one else does.”

Myndi Keyton, Christ the King Catholic School’s Principal, said she is also glad the app is being utilized at the school.

“You might even pay closer attention to your child’s temperature and then take them home if you think they are developing something,” she said. “Attendance at school is very important and the more we know about how to keep them healthy the more likely they are to be at school.”

The app is opt-in only and gives parents a free thermometer.

If you happened to miss this year’s registry, both Kratzberg and Keyton said the school plans on using the program next year and you can re-sign up and get one.

For more information about the Kinsa program, click here.


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