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Should school nurses be able to send unvaccinated kids home? Many parents say 'yes.'

Should school nurses be able to send unvaccinated kids home? Many parents say 'yes.'

In Philadelphia, PA, nurses used to have the right to keep an unvaccinated child out of school — until now.

Lincoln High School nurse Peg Devine explained to the Philadelphia Inquirer that, in her experience, exclusion — preventing a child from attending school until they are up to date on required vaccinations — “proved powerful.” In her 26 years on the job she kept only 15 students out of school and none of them ended up missing more than two days before proving immunization.

However, now her right to intervene has been taken away by the school district, which she finds especially concerning due to the local outbreak of mumps (so far, over 100 Temple University students have contracted the disease) and the measles outbreak in New York — less than two hours from Philadelphia.


“It’s very dangerous that you’ve got kids who are not immunized, and you have medically fragile kids,” Devine said. “It’s unprecedented.”

About 10% of children in the Philadelphia school district remain unvaccinated.

The Philadelphia Inquirer interviewed several nurses from within the school district who all believe it should be their discretionary right to exclude students who were not properly vaccinated.

Colleen Quinn, the nurse at the High School for Creative and Performing Arts, points out that two students at her school are receiving chemotherapy, and there are others whose immune systems are compromised, including young teachers who are pregnant. Of the 750 students at the school 42 are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. She has attempted to educate parents but often gets the “runaround.”

“If you were a parent, and you had a child in the school setting who was recovering from cancer, or recently had an organ transplant — and these are not hypothetical cases, most of us have had these cases — would you want your children in a building with students who were not immunized?” said Strawberry Mansion High School nurse Judith Cocking, who claims she has 28 non-compliant students.

The school district now says nurses can only exclude unvaccinated children on a case-by-case basis, meaning it’s no longer up to the nurses’ discretion.

[rebelmouse-image 19534861 dam="1" original_size="640x425" caption="David Haygarth/Flickr." expand=1]David Haygarth/Flickr.

Karyn Lynch, chief of student support services for the district explained that the recent shift was an attempt to standardize procedures “so that across the city, everyone is following the same process. To inequitably implement across the district would be inappropriate."

She explains that if an unvaccinated student is thought to have come into contact with someone who has an infectious disease, they will deal with it accordingly, but excluding all kids who are unvaccinated could have repercussions.

Parents in the district are less than pleased by this development. In fact, many are shocked and outraged that so many unvaccinated children are walking the halls of their children’s schools.

“I must say I was unaware and completely shocked that [vaccination] was not a compulsory requirement in the Philadelphia School District,” says Neha Ghaisas, whose son, Advik, attends Kindergarten at General George A. McCall School. “I feel that the school district should have the right to keep students away until all the vaccine requirements are fulfilled.”

Shiya Furstenau, whose son Jackson will be entering Kindergarten in the fall at William M. Meredith School, dubs the policy “unreasonable.” “I wouldn’t take my kids to a doctor’s office if they allowed patients that weren’t up to date on their vaccines,” she says. “It puts everyone at risk, especially those who are immunocompromised and our babies who haven’t been able to get vaccinated yet.”

Nicola Espie, who has one child at Chester Arthur School and another entering in the fall, points out that the mumps outbreak at Temple University, as well as the measles outbreak in New York, is proof that “we aren’t talking about a remote hypothetical.”

“People have the right to make medical decisions for their children, of course, but that right should not extend to affecting the public health and putting vulnerable populations at risk and the school district must do its part to protect our children,” she adds.

For Valentyna Abraimova, whose son attends Meredith and whose daughter will enter in the fall, the situation isn’t so black and white.

She explains that vaccinating her children wasn’t “an easy decision,” but because of the crowded classrooms in the public school system as well as the recent outbreaks, she sees the importance of it and hopes “most parents will too.”

She says that getting a nudge from the school nurse, as well as facing the threat of exclusion, is effective. Her son, Gabby, was missing his second dose of MMR. The nurse hinted that he might be suspended, and he got the shot two days later. “It might work for other families, who maybe just missed a couple of appointments or, like myself, are hesitant about vaccines and need an extra push.”

[rebelmouse-image 19534862 dam="1" original_size="725x479" caption="Photo via Pixnio" expand=1]Photo via Pixnio

However, another mother of a child whose daughter attends McCall who wishes to remain anonymous agrees with the school district’s stance: she doesn’t believe that unvaccinated children are putting those who are vaccinated at risk. “For a school of 800, there are roughly 80 who aren’t properly vaccinated, and there is a good chance they wouldn’t come into contact with one another,” she says. She also points out that the vaccinations these students haven’t gotten could be “low-risk viruses, such as the chicken pox or the flu.”

For mom Miranda Hall, the issue isn’t about vaccination itself. “The government should never be given the power to dictate someone’s medical condition as a norm. The occasional extreme, maybe, but that should be determined case-by-case. Choosing alternative immune support methods is not an extreme situation.”

As a parent myself whose child will be entering the Philadelphia school district in the fall, I firmly believe school nurses should be able to exclude students who aren’t vaccinated.

When I was attending school, nurses had the right to send home a child for any reason pertaining to health, because they were considered the school’s medical expert. Nurses, not administrators, go to school to learn about medicine, and we rely on them to take care of our children’s health needs. Why should district officials, with limited to no medical background, get to override that?

If school nurses aren’t given the opportunity to use their medical background and trained judgement to make that call on their own — especially in situations when there is an outbreak going on — the health of our children will be compromised. And if that practice becomes more widely adopted, the health of everyone in this country will be impacted, especially now that we’re dealing with more and more serious outbreaks.

Pop Culture

Airbnb host finds unexpected benefits from not charging guests a cleaning fee

Host Rachel Boice went for a more "honest" approach with her listings—and saw major perks because of it.

@rachelrboice/TikTok

Many frustrated Airbnb customers have complained that the separate cleaning fee is a nuisance.

Airbnb defines its notorious cleaning fee as a “one-time charge” set by the host that helps them arrange anything from carpet shampoo to replenishing supplies to hiring an outside cleaning service—all in the name of ensuring guests have a “clean and tidy space.”

But as many frustrated Airbnb customers will tell you, this feature is viewed as more of a nuisance than a convenience. According to NerdWallet, the general price for a cleaning fee is around $75, but can vary greatly between listings, with some units having cleaning fees that are higher than the nightly rate (all while sometimes still being asked to do certain chores before checking out). And often none of these fees show up in the total price until right before the booking confirmation, leaving many travelers feeling confused and taken advantage of.

However, some hosts are opting to build cleaning fees into the overall price of their listings, mimicking the strategy of traditional hotels.

Rachel Boice runs two Airbnb properties in Georgia with her husband Parker—one being this fancy glass plane tiny house (seen below) that promises a perfect glamping experience.

@rachelrboice Welcome to The Tiny Glass House 🤎 #airbnbfinds #exploregeorgia #travelbucketlist #tinyhouse #glampingnotcamping #atlantageorgia #fyp ♬ Aesthetic - Tollan Kim

Like most Airbnb hosts, the Boice’s listing showed a nightly rate and separate cleaning fee. According to her interview with Insider, the original prices broke down to $89 nightly, and $40 for the cleaning fee.

But after noticing the negative response the separate fee got from potential customers, Rachel told Insider that she began charging a nightly rate that included the cleaning fee, totaling to $129 a night.

It’s a marketing strategy that more and more hosts are attempting in order to generate more bookings (people do love feeling like they’re getting a great deal) but Boice argued that the trend will also become more mainstream since the current Airbnb model “doesn’t feel honest.”

"We stay in Airbnbs a lot. I pretty much always pay a cleaning fee," Boice told Insider. "You're like: 'Why am I paying all of this money? This should just be built in for the cost.'"

Since combining costs, Rachel began noticing another unexpected perk beyond customer satisfaction: guests actually left her property cleaner than before they were charged a cleaning fee. Her hypothesis was that they assumed she would be handling the cleaning herself.

"I guess they're thinking, 'I'm not paying someone to clean this, so I'll leave it clean,'" she said.

This discovery echoes a similar anecdote given by another Airbnb host, who told NerdWallet guests who knew they were paying a cleaning fee would “sometimes leave the place looking like it’s been lived in and uncleaned for months.” So, it appears to be that being more transparent and lumping all fees into one overall price makes for a happier (and more considerate) customer.

These days, it’s hard to not be embittered by deceptive junk fees, which can seem to appear anywhere without warning—surprise overdraft charges, surcharges on credit cards, the never convenience “convenience charge” when purchasing event tickets. Junk fees are so rampant that certain measures are being taken to try to eliminate them outright in favor of more honest business approaches.

Speaking of a more honest approach—as of December 2022, AirBnb began updating its app and website so that guests can see a full price breakdown that shows a nightly rate, a cleaning fee, Airbnb service fee, discounts, and taxes before confirming their booking.

Guests can also activate a toggle function before searching for a destination, so that full prices will appear in search results—avoiding unwanted financial surprises.


This article originally appeared on 11.08.23

National Autistic Society/Youtube

"Diverted" educational video shared through the Too Much Information Campaign.

Everyone who lives with autism experiences it somewhat differently. You'll often hear physicians and advocates refer to the spectrum that exists for those who are autistic, pointing to a wide range of symptoms and skills.

But one thing many autistic people experience is sensory processing issues.


For autistic people, processing the world around them when it comes to sight, smell, or touch can be challenging, as their senses are often over- or under-sensitive. Certain situations — like meandering through a congested mall or enduring the nonstop blasting of police sirens — can quickly become unbearable.

This reality is brought to life in a new video by the U.K.'s National Autistic Society (NAS).

The eye-opening PSA takes viewers into the mind of a autistic woman as she thinks about struggling to stay composed in a crowded, noisy train.

It's worth a watch:

The PSA hit especially close to home for 22-year-old actress and star of the video Saskia Lupin, who is autistic herself. "Overall I feel confused," she said, of abrupt changes to her routine. "Like I can't do anything and all sense of rationality is lost."

She's not alone.

According to a study cited in NAS' press release, 75% of autistic people say unexpected changes make them feel socially isolated. What's more, 67% reported seeing or hearing negative reactions from the public when they try to calm themselves down in such situations — from eyerolls and stares to unwelcome, hurtful comments.

The new PSA aims to improve that last figure in particular.

It's part of the organization's Too Much Information campaign — an initiative to build empathy and understanding in allistic (i.e., not autistic) people for those on the spectrum.

Autism Awareness Day, campaign, World Autism Awareness Week

Campaign by National Autistic Society created to share the autistic experience to the world.

Photo from Pixabay

"It isn't that the public sets out to be judgmental towards autistic people," Mark Lever, chief executive of the NAS, said in a statement in 2016. It's just that, often, the public doesn't "see" the autism.

"They see a 'strange' man pacing back and forth in a shopping center," Lever explained, "or a 'naughty' girl having a tantrum on a bus, and don't know how to respond."

Well, now we do.

Instead of staring, rolling your eyes, or thinking judgmental thoughts about the young person's parents, remember: You have no idea what that stranger on the train is going through.

“We can't make the trains run on time," said Lever. But even the simplest, smallest things — like remembering not to stare and giving a person some space and compassion if they need it — can make a big difference.


This article originally appeared on 03.28.18

Pop Culture

A brave fan asks Patrick Stewart a question he doesn't usually get and is given a beautiful answer

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through.

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through. However, how he answered this vulnerable and brave fan's question is one of the most eloquent, passionate responses about domestic violence I've ever seen.



WARNING: At 2:40, he's going to break your heart a little.

You can read more about Heather Skye's hug with Captain Picard at her blog.


This article originally appeared on 06.26.13.


How to clear a stuffy nose instantly.

With cold season upon us, there's no better time to learn a couple of awesome and easy tricks that will clear up the dreaded and annoying stuffy nose.

Prevention magazine created a short video showing two easy ways to get you breathing free again no matter how stuffed up you might be.


Both tricks take less than two minutes and are certainly worth trying out when it feels like that runny nose might never go away.


Watch the YouTube video below:

This article first appeared on 9.8.17.

Family

Heartwarming comics break down complex parenting issues with ease

Lunarbaboon comics tackle huge, important subjects with an effective, lighthearted touch that you can't help but smile at.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

Writing comics helped a father struggling with anxiety and depression.

Christopher Grady, a father and teacher from Toronto, was struggling with anxiety and depression. That's when he started drawing.

He describes his early cartoons and illustrations as a journal where he'd chronicle everyday moments from his life as a husband, elementary school teacher, and father to two kids.

"I needed a positive place to focus all my thoughts and found that when I was making comics I felt a little bit better," he says.

He began putting a few of his comics online, not expecting much of a response. But he quickly learned that people were connecting with his work in a deep way.


The comics series called Lunarbaboon was born, and the response to the first few was so powerful that Grady was inspired do more with his comics than just document his own experience.

"I began getting messages from many people about how they connected to the comics and it gave them hope and strength as they went through their own dark times," he says.

"When they look back…they probably won't remember what was said…or where you were when you said it. They may not remember any details of your time together. But they will remember that you were there…and that's what matters most."

"Usually the circle of people we can support, help, influence is limited to our families, friends, coworkers, random stranger at the bus stop, but with my comic I suddenly found my circle of power was much much larger," Grady explains. "I guess I decided to use this power for good."

Grady continued to draw, making a point to infuse the panels with his own special brand of positivity.

"Kids are always watching adults and they look to the adults as role models," he says. "I try to show (my kids and students) that even with all my flaws and weaknesses I am still a good person and I can still make a positive change in the world."

Lunarbaboon comics tackle huge, important subjects with an effective, lighthearted touch that you can't help but smile at.

Check out Grady's take on teaching his son about consent. (All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission.)

consent, relationship advice, father son advice, family

A comic about listening and respecting your partner.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

Here's one about parents being supportive of a gay son or daughter.

sexual orientation, parenting gay children, positive messages, gender orientation

Parents being supportive of their gay son.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

On raising girls in a patriarchal world.

adulting, education, medical field, dreams

Comic encourages girls to chase all their dreams.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

And here's a sweet one about appreciating the heck out of his wife.

motherhood, moms, childbirth, family

Mom one ups dad easily.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

Big topics. Important issues. Grady tackles them with humility and ease.

As Lunarbaboon has continued to grow, Grady says the messages of support he gets have become increasingly powerful.

He certainly doesn't claim to have all the answers to all the complexities of parenting, but he does say that "people like knowing they aren't alone in life's daily struggles. Most people who contact me just want to say thank you for putting something positive into the world."

Grady doesn't expect his Lunarbaboon comics to fix rape culture or end bigotry. He just hopes his message of love, inclusion, and positivity continues to spread.

inclusion, gender roles, social anxiety, happy

Teaching children to accept what might be different.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

"My hope is that for the short time people read it they smile and feel good," he says. "Then I hope they take that good feeling and smile into the world and make it slightly brighter."

You can check out even more of Grady's awesome work over on his website or in his newly published book.


This article was originally published on 11.30.17