Coweta schools showing only minor effects of flu

Thu, 08/27/2009 - 3:57pm
By: Ben Nelms

Some flu-like symptoms are being seen in Coweta County schools, but those numbers are minor compared to some other southwest metro area school systems. As of Tuesday, only 107 students had manifested flu-like symptoms out of a student population of approximately 23,500.

Even though influenza and flu-like symptoms are showing up in communities in metro Atlanta and across the nation, school system spokesperson Dean Jackson on Wednesday said that attendance at the system’s 30 schools is near the norm at 95.6-97.5 percent. The norm throughout the Coweta school system is 96-98 percent, Jackson said.

In a breakdown of system’s schools, Jackson said elementary schools on Wednesday are showing an attendance rate of 96-97 percent, with a 95.6-98 percent rate at middle schools and a 96-97 percent rate at high schools. Coweta County serves approximately 23,500 students.

School system head nurse Sally Millians said that while higher numbers of clinic visits is normal for the beginning of a school year, schools are seeing some increase in student visits to clinics, though she considered that a good sign since schools had provided parents with information on awareness and precautions for flu-like symptoms at the beginning of the school year.

Millians said the school system is looking at absences each day and are performing illness surveillance on a daily basis. She said that as of Tuesday a total of 107 students had either been sent home with flu-like symptoms or had been kept at home by parents.

Coweta County school staff are reviewing preventative hygiene measures with students that are recommended by Georgia Division of Public Health (DPH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Those measures include frequent handwashing and covering mouths when sneezing or coughing. And schools are using more disinfectants, Millians said.

Jackson said the school system is following CDC and DPH guidelines that advise keeping a child at home if her temperature is at 100-degrees or higher and not allowing the child to return to school until she has been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.

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