Scott County School District 2 is helping its students and families stay healthy this flu season with the distribution of smart thermometers.
Parents and guardians of Scott 2 elementary and middle school students can download an app, connect their smart thermometer to their phone, keep a record of how their family members are feeling and their temperatures, and interact with the school nurse and school community about what symptoms and illnesses users are experiencing. And, it is all free of charge to Scott 2 families.
“Not only do parents get a free smart thermometer, but they gain the ability access to the current health trends in their child's school,” said Heather Crites, registered nurse and school district health coordinator. “The parents join their school group on the app and have signs and symptoms with the number of fevers occurring at the school. Another huge asset with the app is the message board for parents and staff to post information for everyone in the group.”
The smart thermometers are manufactured by Kinsa, a company that developed one of the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration-cleared, app-enabled thermometers. Scott County School District 2 is one of 500 schools nationwide to be selected to receive the free smart thermometers this flu season.
“I applied for SCSD2 to become one of 500 schools in the nation to participate in the FLUency program. We were accepted into the finalist group,” said Crites, who is also the school nurse at Scottsburg High School. “Dr. Slaton and I did a phone interview for the program. [We] were chosen based on our student needs and the health disparities of our community.”
Using the Kinsa smart thermometers is done in a few simple steps. Using an Android or Apple device, the user will need to go to the Play/App Store to download the Kinsa app. After launching the app and agreeing to the terms of service, the user will follow the in-app instructions to set up the smart thermometer. The thermometer uses the headphones/audio port on their phone to connect to the Kinsa app.
“The most beneficial health and wellness aspect of using the smart thermometer is the app itself. The health trends noted on the message boards allow for parents and nurses to stay on top of contagious illnesses,” Crites said. “Parents are always concerned with what illnesses are being seen in the student population in their child's school. With the help of the Kinsa smart thermometer, parents can have that information on their smartphones.”
In the Kinsa app, parents can create individual profiles for each family member and choose a Sesame Street character or color as an avatar. Also, parents and guardians will need to join a group from the menu. Users can search for their child’s school by name, city/state, zip code, or by using location services on their device. By tapping on the settings icon in the group section of the app, users can link the individual profiles to the groups. There, they can comment, report, and see what illnesses are trending at the school.
“The success of the FLUency program is based on the parent participation in the groups. Once a thermometer is distributed, parents must join their school group to receive all the benefits of the app,” Crites said. “If parents are not in the school group, then they do not have access to all the illnesses that are being seen in their school. The groups provide that vital information so parents may apply preventative measures at home.”
The information taken from the smart thermometers is provided to the school group anonymously, Crites said. On the message board, parents and guardians can choose to use their name when posting or post anonymously. The school nurse can interact with parents and guardians who post on the message board, providing an additional level of care beyond the school.
“We are excited to have this opportunity and to improve the health of our students and community,” Crites said.
If Lexington, Johnson, Scottsburg, or Vienna-Finley Elementary School or Scottsburg Middle School parents or guardians need help with setting up the Kinsa app or need a smart thermometer, they can contact their child’s school nurse, Crites said. Kinsa also has an internet technical support department and can be reached by emailing, email@example.com.
The smart thermometers will be distributed by Oct. 28.