By ROBERT LINNEHAN | The Cherry Hill Sun
Absenteeism is nothing to be concerned about, said district representatives, as students aren’t missing school more than usual with the H1N1 flu causing worry throughout the country.
Public Information Officer Susan Bastnagel said that while attendance has varied from school to school, as a whole absenteeism is actually down right now when compared to average levels. Student absences had been a bit elevated at the start of October, she said, but have dropped since.
“Our lead nurse has seen a variety of illnesses, not just illnesses related to flu symptoms as well,” Bastnagel said. “It varies widely across the district.”
There have been minimal worries over the H1N1 flu — commonly known as swine flu — Bastnagel said, but the district is planning some precautions. The school district has already partnered with the Camden County Health Department to host several H1N1 vaccination clinics for district students.
The first will be held on Thursday, Dec. 10 at Cherry Hill High School East and Tuesday, Dec. 15 at Carusi Middle School. The clinics will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The clinic will be available to all students enrolled in the Cherry Hill School District, Bastnagel said. The clinics will offer the vaccination free to any students who attend after school. Students have to register for the clinics, she said. Permission forms, fact sheets, and Q and A sheets from the County Department of Health will be available on the district’s Web site soon, she said.
For the time being, Bastnagel said the school district is reminding parents to follow the guidelines recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to help curtail the spread of germs through the student population.
“Our nurses are following the CDC guidelines when gauging to send students home, and I ask the parents to use the same,” Bastnagel said.
The district reminded parents to remind their children to wash their hands with soap and water often to stave off germs and not to share personal items with friends to not spread germs throughout the student body.
Parents should also be aware of the signs and symptoms of flu in their children, district representatives said. Fever, achiness, cough, sore throat, and a number of other symptoms are signs that a child should possibly be taken to their physician.
If a child is sick, the district reminded parents to keep the student home for 24 hours after the child stops exhibiting symptoms of being sick. Representatives said the student should not have symptoms for 24 hours without the aid of fever reducing medications before coming back to school. For more information on the H1N1 flu, tips on stopping the spread of germs, and for the future clinic permission slips, please visit the district’s Web site at cherryhill.k12.nj.us.