Area schools getting hit as flu season ramps up

Published 9:45 am Friday, January 25, 2019

The flu season is in full swing and schools are starting to feel the effects. Lafayette County School District had over 350 students out sick on Wednesday. Not all were officially diagnosed as the flu but it is considered the main reason for 11 percent of the school district’s enrollment to miss.

The spike in absent numbers occurred once LCSD returned from holiday break. The elementary school was hit first, however the middle school is currently seeing the largest number of illness-related absences.

“Numbers have jumped tremendously,” LCSD Head Nurse Celia Roberts said. “It really started a couple weeks ago with the younger kids and starting a week ago hitting the middle school. Numbers are high. I can’t tell you it was more than we had last year. Last year was a longer flu season. It just seems that it’s a larger number at one time.”

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Roberts noted she could not confirm they are all flu cases, as the only way the schools will know a student has been diagnosed with the flu is if the parents call and report it. Roberts said a stomach virus is also going around, along with the flu and strep throat. Roberts stated strep throat been around since school began in the fall.

Another reason for the high number of absent students is due to some staying home as a precaution.

Earlier this month the Mississippi State Department of Health announced there had been one pediatric flu death reported this season. The H1N1 is the predominant flue strain going around currently, and it has a tendency of affecting children the most.

“I’ve checked with doctor’s offices pretty much every day to see what they’re seeing,” Roberts said. “Every urgent care, every pediatrician’s office, (they’re all seeing) tremendous amounts of flu.

The Oxford School District sent out an email to parents after there were 364 students marked absent on Wednesday, which is about four percent higher than a usual school day. The total number was not flu-specific, but the email did acknowledge confirmed cases of the flu throughout all OSD campuses.

Both Roberts and the OSD email suggested leaving kids at home until they have been fever-free for a full 24-hour period without the aid of fever-reducing medicine.