School absences drop after big spike

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, August 27, 2009

School absences seem to be dwindling down throughout the county, after both county and city schools have had several students out with flu-related illnesses.

Both Pike County and Troy City Schools had spikes in absentees the latter part of last week and earlier this week.

Troy City Schools were monitoring absences last week, to see if there was a need to close in order to disinfect, with absences reaching more than 100 at Charles Henderson Middle School, but Thursday those absences had dropped off. According to TCS Superintendent Linda Felton-Smith, there were only 40 students absent at the middle school Thursday.

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“Our number of students (absent) has gone down,” Felton-Smith said. “In fact, we only had 40 students absent at the middle school.”

While Pike County Schools didn’t experience high numbers of absences last week due to H1N1flu or like illnesses, Superintendent Mark Bazzell said absences increased earlier this week.

“We were running about 7.5 percent on Wednesday, by Friday we were at 8.5 percent and Tuesday we were at 13 percent,” Bazzell said.

But, Bazzell said he believed the numbers were back down on Thursday.

“I would expect that we’re at about 10 percent today,” Bazzell said.

According to Bazzell, the school that has been most impacted is Pike County High School.

With children under 12 years of age being highly impacted by H1N1 flu, Dothan’s Southeast Alabama Medical Center made the decision not to allow children under 12 in the hospital unless they were seeking medical services.

Troy Regional Medical Center’s Chief of Nursing Jennifer Ventress said, while the hospital has tossed that option around, it’s not something being implemented at this time.

“I’m not saying we won’t,” Ventress said. “But, we are strictly following the CDC regulations.”

Ventress did say that children under 12 and young adults, who are most susceptible to the flu should not be in a hospital or doctor’s office, unless they are seeking medical treatment.

“If your child is under 12 years of age or any young adult, they should not be in a hospital,” Ventress said. “That’s where the germs are.”