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Flu frenzy

Sickness keeps 20 percent of students home Monday

The staff at Craig Middle School is getting pretty familiar with liquid hand sanitizer.

With about 20 percent of the school’s students out sick Monday, anything students touched, whether it was a desk or a phone, got a quick wipedown, said Beth Gilchrist, the school’s secretary.

That meant a lot of wiping Monday morning — 60 of the 333 students enrolled at the school were out sick.



And a steady stream of ailing youngsters flowed into the nurse’s office, complaining about coughs, sore throats and fevers.

“They just don’t look like they feel very good,” Gilchrist said.



When the flu hits a few students at the school, it isn’t hard for the bug to spread quickly, she said.

Anita Reynolds, health technician at the school, said Mon–days are usually a busy day in the nurse’s office but that this Monday was busier than most.

Students in the nurse’s office were lethargic and complained about body aches, she said.

If the students come to the nurse’s office with a temperature of 100 degrees or more, district policy requires the school send the student home, Reynolds said.

A major wave of absences such as what happened Monday usually hits the school once or twice a year, Gilchrist said.

The bug at Craig Middle School appears to be limited to the students, Gilchrist said.

“It hasn’t hit the teachers yet,” she said.

And it doesn’t look like whatever is ailing middle school students has spread to other district schools.

At Craig Intermediate School, which is next to the middle school, 25 of the school’s 330 students were out sick.

Area elementary schools also reported an average day Monday in terms of absences.

Joel Sheridan, assistant superintendent for the Moffat County School District, said it isn’t uncommon for 20 percent of the students at one school to be out sick.

“When the flu hits, it hits,” he said.

Sheridan said he has seen as much as 30 percent of a school’s students sick at one time.

Terri Jourgensen, the registered nurse for the Moffat County School District, said February and March usually are the months with the highest number of absences.

This year, the standard flu doesn’t seem as common as in years past, but strep throat, sinus infections and stomach viruses are more prevalent, Jourgensen said.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.


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