Two years ago, Cheryl Stokes received an email that's made her job easier and can keep kids healthier.
Stokes is a nurse at Laraway Elementary School in Joliet. The email Stokes received was an opportunity to sign up for the FLUency program.
This is a national health program by Kinsa, "a company that makes smart thermometers and tracks the flu in real time," a news release from Kinsa said.
Once a school is accepted into the program, "all school families and staff can redeem free FDA-cleared Kinsa smart thermometers," according to the Kinsa website.
Laraway was one of the schools accepted for free thermometers," Stokes said.
"We had over 400 families who could have gotten the thermometers but they have to actually register for them," Stokes.
Stokes said over 100 families did sign up, including a preschool class just this past year. Laraway School has about 470 families in preschool through eighth grade, Stokes said.
Families can also join a private group on the Kinsa app, where they can view see "anonymous and aggregated information" about any symptoms other students at their children's school may be experience and in what symptoms are occurring in their child's grade, the website also said.
When their children are sick, parents plug the smart thermometer in their phones ("There's an app," Stokes said) and take their children's temperature.
"That information goes right to me on my app," Stokes said. "I think it helps to keep down sickness. It helps to fight flu, as well. It helps to keep everyone informed when something is going on."
The program also helps parents make decisions about siblings, based on the information about their children's symptoms and any symptoms other children at school have, too.
Stokes said the Fluency program has also cut down parent calls to her, asking, "Should I keep my child home today?"
"If something is going on in a specific grade, it can send a message out through that program, as well," Stokes said. "It lets a parent know that if their child has these symptoms to keep them at home."
Because the program is sponsored by Lysol, Stokes said participation also comes with free Lysol wipes, too.
"So they can wipe down the classrooms if they need to," Stokes said.