Community Health Department Investigation

The Health Department received a letter notifying them of a possible health problem in regards to students at Truman and Jackson Middle Schools. It is my duties as a member of the investigative team to find out if there was an increase of absences and for what classes. In looking at the charts it would appear that the absences occurred for the band classes at Truman and Jackson Middle Schools on May 20th. The chart shows an absent rate of 33% for Truman and 25% for Jackson (“Independent School District 12 Intranet”).
According to the letter from the principal at Truman Middle School she is concerned that a flu outbreak could be the cause of the student’s absences but there is also information from the Health Department inspections that shows restaurants with violations such as: sanitation, food storage, and food preparation. My first hypothesis would be that the students from Truman and Jackson were absent from school on the 20th because they ate at one of the restaurants and caught food poisoning.
Several of the students had similar symptoms such as: diarrhea, fever, and vomiting which kept them from attending school. My second hypothesis would be that the students from the two schools came in contact with another which could have lead them to transmitting the flu to one another. This would be supported by the fact that on the calendar of events the students attended the Battle of the Bands on May 19th, which was a day before the absences started taking place.

There are six testable questions that could help with the investigation: how close are Truman and Jackson schools, did other band students from Kennedy and Roosevelt report the same symptoms, was there direct contact between the students at Truman and Jackson, were the band students from Kennedy and Roosevelt in contact with the students from Truman and Jackson, was the reported illnesses from students who played the same instrument, and how close are Kennedy and Roosevelt to Truman and Jackson.
The following statement: “The Brentwood Indians basketball team lost the state championship because there is bad stuff in the stars happening with Mars in Aquarius”, is not a suitable hypothesis. In order for “bad stuff” to be tested we would need to know what exactly it is that they are referring to as “bad stuff”.

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