Metro schools using smart technology, app to track students sick with the flu

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The flu is knocking people out of commission left and right, and according to a "smart thermometer" app, Missouri is seeing extremely high rates of the flu.

University Academy is one of a couple schools in the metro using these Kinsa “smart thermometers.”

The company collected and analyzed data from more than one million users around the country, and apparently, Missourians are quite sick.

“Every student was eligible to receive one. We had about 300 that we gave out to families,” said Brianne Phillips, the student services coordinator at University Academy.

University Academy received a grant to get the smart thermometers and keep families in the know.

“Families can use the thermometer to take temperature," Phillips said. "It also gives them ideas on how to manage symptoms. And they’re also able to log onto a group for our school University Academy, and in that they can see what other symptoms or illnesses are going around our school community."

The thermometers connect to smartphones, and you can enter symptoms into the mobile app to track suspected cases of the flu.

“I think it’s helpful for us to know what kind of illnesses our students are experiencing so we can help prevent them or do what we can on our end," Phillips said.

After collecting and analyzing data from the thermometers, Kinsa estimates that just above 5 percent of Missourians were sick last week, the highest rate in the country.

Kansas wasn’t far behind at 5 percent, and the national average was 3.7 percent.

Metro cleaning company JAC Clean recommends keeping children stocked with hand sanitizer and wipes.

“My recommendation would be to make sure, one, your children go to school with Purell and hand wipes, and two, anything they share with a child in the class, especially if they feel like they’ve been sick, wipe their hands with disinfectant or Purell when they’re done,” said Chucker Luetje with JAC Clean.

JAC Clean is used to sanitizing areas where there are a ton of people, which equals tons of germs.

“We try to use similar practices throughout the year, but it’s important to really focus, especially this time of year with the flu, on key areas where people are touching everything,” Luetje said. “It’s important to make sure the door handles are wiped down with a disinfectant. We make sure hand rails are wiped down, light switches, anything that’s in a common area where you’d be touching something. And the more people who touch it, the more opportunity there is to spread germs.”

Metro schools are also taking serious precautions to keep their students in class.

“We have signs in our bathrooms reminding them to wash their hands, and we also try to really enforce our illness policy, where students are to stay home for 24 hours if they are vomiting or have a fever,” Phillips said.