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Students on the mend after sick season

Staff writer

More than 10 percent of Hillsboro students missed classes because of the flu, including children testing positive for influenza A and B viruses.

Most of the illnesses in Hillsboro occurred at the middle school, although the state requires that the high school and middle school report as one entity because both are contained beneath the same roof, school officials said. Of 268 students, 29 were absent one day last week, with 26 having influenza-like symptoms, said Diedre Serene, county health department administrator.

At Hillsboro elementary, about 12 percent of the 310 students reported sick earlier this week, said Alissa Unruh, USD 410 nurse.

“Our absence numbers have increased over the last week,” Unruh said Monday. “We are receiving reports of children and adolescents testing positive for influenza A and B. Other students have influenza-like illnesses that include fever, cough, and sore throat. We also have students out with various symptoms that include gastrointestinal illnesses, earaches, cold or upper respiratory symptoms, sinusitis, and or rash.”

Parents must keep their kids home if they are ill and for 24 hours after the illness is gone, and students are encouraged to wash their hands often, Unruh said.

Schools in Peabody and Marion also reported to the county health department that more than 10 percent of their student bodies stayed or went home due to sickness at least one day last week.

Marion Elementary was hit hardest last week, with 76 kids of 261 ill for various reasons, including influenza.

Marion Elementary Principal Justin Wasmuth said just 18 students reported sick Friday. Just six were sick Tuesday.

“It went down dramatically as the week went on,” Wasmuth said. “It’s looking better for us.”

In Peabody-Burns, 23 students of 133 at the elementary school were absent Jan. 26, with 14 having influenza-like symptoms.

“That was toward the beginning of last week; by the end of the week (the absenteeism) was waning,” Serene said.

In Goessel, just “three or four” students from a particle elementary classroom were absent, Serene said.

Centre School, serving students from kindergarten through 12th grade, had predominantly gastrointestinal illnesses,, Serene said.

“Parents can expect to answer questions about symptoms when they call students in sick,” said Diedre Serene, county health department administrator. “But the fact is that sometimes when parents call in they don’t give symptoms.”

Last modified Feb. 5, 2015

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