Apply now: Kinsa’s FLUency program helps schools reduce illness-based absenteeism

Its early detection method keeps sick students from bringing the bug to their classmates.
By: | July 8, 2021

It started in 2015 with a 100-school pilot program and has grown every year since: FLUency, a philanthropic program to help stop the spread of illness in schools, is now used in more than 4,000 schools across the U.S. and Canada including, as of the fall 2021 school year, the entire New York City school district. How it works: Districts or individual schools that apply to utilize the free program receive digital flyers, a package containing Kinsa smart thermometers, free Lysol disinfectant for use in classrooms, and program brochures for families that explain how to join. Once the registration period for a school or district is closed, the smart thermometers are mailed out for distribution to staff and families who have signed up; they are typically passed out from October through December.

Families can opt in through the Kinsa health and symptoms guide app, where a dashboard tracks the number of families that sign up, displays illness trends at the school, and contains a message board for posting news and tips to students’ families. All data are compliant with applicable privacy laws and displayed as anonymous.

“Over the past six years, since schools started using the thermometer and app, Kinsa has recorded a 27 percent decrease in illness-based absenteeism during the peak of flu season,” says Nita Nehru, Kinsa’s FLUency director.

Adds Inder Singh, founder and CEO of Kinsa, “As temperature and symptom checks are being required for school attendance, it’s important to note that doing so at the point of entry is not working. Instead, experts advise to take temperatures at home, so if a fever is present, others outside the family are not exposed. The problem we’ve found—and why FLUency has been successful in reducing absenteeism and containing the spread of influenza-like illnesses for six years running—is that 40% of school families do not have access to a working thermometer at home. FLUency is making strides to change that.”

Kinsa anticipates onboarding 5,500 elementary schools across the U.S. and Canada to participate in the upcoming school year.