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Many kids out of IL schools due to flu

November 18, 2009
MEREDITH — Inter-Lakes schools are seeing sizable absences of students with flu-like illnesses, though rates are lower than in other districts.

Superintendent Phil McCormack reported to the School Board on Tuesday regarding H1N1 and other flue-like illnesses in the school.

In the wake of H1N1, students and staff that exhibit any flu-like symptoms are told to stay home until symptoms break.

The highest concentration of illnesses have been at Inter-Lakes Elementary, where there has been a "high water mark" of 77 students absent, an absentee rate of around 14.8 percent.

District wide there has been a high rate of 10.9 percent. McCormack said the numbers have started to go down since last Friday and are at an average of 5.9 percent district-wide and 6.2 percent at ILES alone.

"We are watching it very closely," McCormack said. "When a youngster was suspected of flu-like illness, they were in the nurses office with a mask on waiting to go home."

The highest absentee rate in the state so far is in Bow, where there is 34 percent absenteeism due to flu-like illness.

A plan is being put in place to manage the illnesses, especially in the ILES building. McCormack complimented the efforts of health services and the school nurses.

"They really did do a great job with that issue," McCormack said.

McCormack also commended the custodial staff for keeping surfaces clean and disinfected in the wake of he illnesses.

The impact of the illness has been seen in schools. A recent Middle Tier production of "James and the Giant Peach" saw a third of the cast absent with the flu. School Board member Rebecca Alosa said her son was one such student out sick and thanked director Kathleen Hill and those who put on the production for managing the challenges.

Town of Alexandria
Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
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