School absenteeism acts as flu barometer
CHETWYND – More than 15 percent of Chetwynd Secondary School’s student population remains at home this week after School District 59 officials released a newsletter requesting parents keep them there if they show signs of being sick.
However, in the same breath the newsletter also states it’s “important to continue on [with] our daily lives. There is no sense in avoiding school thinking that H1N1 is being avoided because H1N1 is in the community.”
District superintendent Kathy Sawchuk said students could just as easily pick up the virus from other family members, church or the handle of a grocery cart.
“It is also important to remember that the vast majority of people who contract H1N1 are living through the symptoms with some mild to moderate discomfort and returning to their regular routines after five to seven days,” she said.
As of Oct. 26 every one of the district’s schools had reported that students were absent due to flu-like symptoms, with H1N1 verified in several of those schools – including Chetwynd Secondary.
All school-based staff have received a plan to reduce the exposure of students and staff to the virus.
“The washing of hands and disinfecting of surfaces will be a primary practice in all schools this winter,” the newsletter states. “Every school is committed to working its way through the H1N1 season in a way that will better train us for future influenzas and support student and staff health as much as possible.”
The district will, however, cancel dances or extended field trips if it deems necessary.
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