Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The germs stay home

March SOLC

One of the things we work on in my classroom, early in the year, is how to keep our germs to ourselves. This includes learning to cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm, using hand sanitizer when you forget, and staying home when you have a fever.

The fever part should be easy as our school policy states that students must stay home until they have been fever free for at least 24 hours without fever reducing medicine. You would think that would be simple to follow. Unfortunately the reality is that there are doctors who will give fever reducing medicine and then tell parents to send their child to school. Or the understanding of '24 hours' is unclear and if the child doesn't have a fever when they go to bed (even if they had a fever at 3 p.m.) results in the child being sent to school.

I agree that it is not always convenient. When my daughter has a fever one of us has to stay home with her. There are times when I know she is fine and it is frustrating to wait out the entire 24 hours, but that is the way it goes. It even means that sometimes we miss things that we really want to be there for.

Like the Science Fair.

In the past I have had students come to school sick on the day of the fair. I have then kept them in isolation until their judge is ready for them. They then are able to fully participate with their team for the judging round and then they go home. (The year a student had the chicken pox they did stay home.)

This year I had a student who was out with a high fever the day before the fair. They emailed me saying they would go to the doctor and get medicine and come to school the next day. They asked what time they were scheduled to be judged because they knew they would need to be in attendance for that 20 minutes. I then had a brilliant idea.

Checking my schedule to see who was slated to judge their team I was optimistic that it would work. The judge was willing to try something new. Why not have the student Skype for their judging round?

The student and I checked out connection the night before. In the morning I let the rest of their team know the plan. Since we have used Skype in the classroom they could envision how it would go. We set everything up in the gym for the opening of the fair. Just before the slated time the judge went in to see their complete setup. We then moved just the students and their tri-fold display up to my room and the third student joined in by Skype.

It was a little bit different then everyone else's experience. All the other teams had a judging round and a grading round. This team had us both together. All the other teams were in a room without parents. The one on Skype could have their mom listen in. All the other teams still had to wait and this team was breathing a huge sigh of relief.

As the students headed back to the gym with their tri-fold the judge said to me, "that was pretty cool". I agreed. It did go well.

And the germs stayed home.


  1. A wonderful use of technology! Glad it all worked out. And it may even make a parent more likely to keep a kid home in the future if they can still participate like this. Fantastic idea. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Well, there you go...another great use for technology. I love the way it just presents itself to you, the way you have become so comfortable thinking about tech this way. I realize I have a long way to go!