CPS students to receive Kinsa Thermometers

Knowledge is power, so the adage goes. And in this time of COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to be aware of possible symptoms.

Today, Columbus Public Schools, along with Nebraska Cooperative Government, is pleased to announce that each CPS student will receive a Kinsa Smart Thermometer for use at home.

“Because fever is so often the first indication of possible infection, having families know their child’s temperature every day is vital in keeping us attending school in-person every day,” Dr. Troy Loeffelholz, CPS Superintendent said. “We’re fortunate now to give that opportunity to each one of our students.”

The Kinsa smart thermometers work with a mobile device and information is shared directly with the app via Bluetooth. The data from each thermometer is collected and used to predict potential spikes in areas across our community, state and nation.

Through years of research, the company can predict the timing and geography of U.S. fevers. Often, fevers emerge as a response to influenza viruses, which has aided in predicting the number and season of flu cases in a typical year.  That predictability provides an opportunity to track and even predict outbreaks.

Research scientists at the University of Nebraska - Kearney began using that data in June to predict COVID-19 hotspots in Nebraska weeks before new outbreaks are officially reported.  "It's a big thing if we can know that we have this virus almost a month before it is reported from testing," said Fadi Alsaleem, UNL assistant professor of architectural engineering and construction. "One quick way we could potentially use this is to forecast a new outbreak."

Dr. Loeffelholz said these thermometers do help the families of Columbus Public Schools’ stay the course and keep each other safe.  “Just one person can potentially infect many. Everyday screenings at home can prevent illness in the classroom,” he said. “Getting your child’s temperature and knowing that number, along with following our guidelines, is a strong but simple way to keep everyone safe.”