My WHOLE kindergarten class currently has hand, foot, and mouth disease. It is terrifying. It started with just a few kids who were absent from school, but quickly, half of the class was gone. And the school wasn’t doing anything about it– they were ignoring it for fear of upsetting the parents. More and more kids kept disappearing from class until there were 7/32 left. Finally, one parent called the national health center, who came and shut down our classroom for a week.
We had been “vigilant” about hand, foot, and mouth disease for a while. A few weeks back, someone came and did a presentation about HFMD that involved graphic pictures of mouth sores and bodily rashes. The message was that kids should wash their hands more frequently. Of course, kindergarteners don’t really take these things to heart. They kept picking their noses and then holding each others’ hands, sneezing in people’s faces, and one little angel even used his toothbrush to scrub the floor of the merry-go-round, laughing in my horrified face while I tried to pry him away from it. I think this was actually the kid who started it all, because he was the first to disappear.
When we first discovered that some kids had HFMD, I was really freaked. Any time a kid would try to get close to me or hold my hand, I would quickly extricate myself. But I learned that most adults are immune to the disease, because they’ve all experienced it as kids. I think I may have gotten a mild form, which caused me to lose my voice for a few days and have an ongoing mild fever/cough. The school won’t let me take off to go to the doctor.
School was very quiet for a week. We spent the time sanitizing everything in the kindergarten department, and waiting for the kids to come back after a 7 day quarantine period. Today was the first day that some of the kids started coming back, and I’ve heard rumors that some kids in the preschool are beginning to go missing. What I find incredible in all of this is that the school, who charges 30,000 USD per year for tuition, is STILL watering down all of the hand soap in the kindergarten classrooms. Just another thing to show the fine caliber and deep employee/student concern of the school I’m working for.