Schools acting proactively to protect against flu

The flu has reached epidemic levels nationwide. So far, it’s responsible for 21 deaths and the hospitalization of 3,500 people, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) says it’s still spreading.

The latest flu activity map in the United States from the CDC says 43 states are now reported as having widespread flu activity. This includes all four states in the Local 6 region.

According to Walgreens, the Local 6 area is second in flu activity, and when ranking according to state – Kentucky is second, Tennessee follows at third, and Illinois has the 9th greatest flu activity. Local schools saw a lot of this sickness reflected in lower attendance rates before break, but with most students’ first day back today, schools are working to be as proactive as possible to fight the sickness.

Graves County High School Nurse, Rhonda Riley says they saw a rough couple of days before break, but the first day back shows a promising start, “I’ve had the typical number, a few students have been in and out.”

Riley says students’ time away helped rid the student body of previous sickness, and it’s important to continue educating the school of proper ways to combat the virus, “We’ll encourage the hand washing the coughing and sneezing in the right way.”

Graves County Director of Pupil Personnel, Jennifer Smith says the numbers are nearing normal levels. Smith says all but one school in the district has displayed somewhat average daily attendance for the first day back, but it’s important to continue this trend now despite epidemic levels nationwide. She says, “The reality is it does affect our funding so we need to be able to give every bit back to our kids.”

So Riley remains diligent in maintaining her students’ health, “Continuously do the extra cleaning we do during flu season as well as during the day.” Especially with making cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer readily available in order to get ahead of higher absences. Riley says, “We could be faced with some higher numbers in the next couple weeks, but I feel like what we’re doing is working.”

School officials say when your student is feverish, you should keep them home until the fever breaks for 24 hours without medication.

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