Germs at School: A State of the Union Concerning Illness In Michigan Schools

The State of the Union is an annual address – presented by the President of the United States to a joint session of Congress – that reports the condition of the nation, while also outlining a legislative agenda or providing recommendations that are both necessary and expedient.

The State of the Union – below – is an address too.

But our focus is the state of Michigan and, in particular, the state of illness in Michigan schools.

Here’s what we know:

There are 1,507,225 students enrolled in the 900+ public schools in Michigan. There are an additional 154,143 students enrolled in Michigan’s 975+ private schools. 164 million total school days are lost due to illness nationwide, including 7.5 million students nationally who are chronically absent each year, meaning they miss 10 percent or more school days in a year for any reason (excused or unexcused).

The most common school-based illnesses?

  • Cold/flu
  • Stomach flu
  • Lice
  • Pinkeye
  • Strep throat
  • Impetigo
  • MRSA

But other illnesses cause significant problems too.

In early September 2015, Swartz Creek High School, in Swartz Creek, Michigan, closed. The district was dealing with cases of meningitis, including a student who had been diagnosed with a viral form of the infection. The news got worse in October, when other Central Michigan schools reported cases of viral meningitis.

How do these illnesses impact schools?

Missed classes translate to lost learning opportunities
Chronic absenteeism predicts low achievement (and eventual dropout)

Plus, because school reimbursement is directly related to attendance, absenteeism also means monetary loss.

An example:

There are approximately 164 million school days lost among students in grades K-12. That’s 4.5 sick days per student per year. Reimbursement numbers vary from district to district, but generally average between $30-40 per student. For a school district that has 50,000 students, a daily absenteeism rate of only 1 percent can mean a loss of $15,000 per day. Assuming the same district averages 4.5 sick days each, the loss is approximately $6.75 million.

So what do we do about it?

Ask Surface Shield.

And in the meantime, two additional fun facts:

  • The President receives a formal invitation to address the nation from the Speaker of the House several weeks before the State of the Union address.
  • The practice of the State of the Union arises from a command given to the president in the Constitution. It says: He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their consideration such measures, as he shall judge necessary and expedient. (Article II, Section 3 of the US Constitution)

Quality education requires a safe, productive learning environment – and one that is protected from germs that cause significant illness. Download our FREE Deep Cleaning Prevention Checklist to make sure you’re doing all you can to keep your students safe from illness this winter season.


tive Measures Against MRSA

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