App allows parents to see when children’s classmates are sick

Local News

Fordland, Mo. — A smart thermometer is helping track students’ illnesses at Fordland Schools.

“We started with the program 3 years ago,” Lead School Nurse Jennifer Venable said. “This is our third year into it. Each year we’ve built on the number of participants because as families participate then they see the benefits of it.”

Roughly 168 families have signed their kids up for an app called Kinsa.  “When the family signs up for the Kinsa app, they are able to obtain a free thermometer,” Venable said. “They sync the thermometer into the app. They are able to see what kind of sicknesses and illnesses different symptoms that are going on in the community.”

Once a student takes their temperature, the thermometer will light up green or red. Green means they have a low fever, and red means they have a high fever. If that student has a high fever, it will inform the parent not to send their kid to school.
“We signed up when the program first came out three years ago with my son and then with my daughter,” parent Alyssa Key said. “If i take the reading and if they have a fever, it’s go here, take this medicine, here are the different doses you can use for different ages.”

The app also shows user what symptoms other kids are experiencing — like covid, the flu, or a rash.
“With covid, a lot of the symptoms were similar to other [illnesses],” Key said. “It could be allergies, it could be strep throat, so to see what symptoms the other students were having really helped me navigate this is probably strep, this probably isn’t likely covid.”

It is optional whether families sign their kids up for Kinsa. For Key, she has already seen the benefits.
“My son had strep throat but the symptoms weren’t likely of strep throat,” Key said. “It was more like nausea, upset stomach, he wasn’t complaining of throat pain. But because the kinsa app said there had been strep, I was able to take my son to the doctor sooner than I would have typically to get him identified and on antibiotics for strep a lot quicker.”
Fordland is one of 100 schools in the state using Kinsa’s Smart Thermometer.

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