Absences Up at Elementary School

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Fevers are rising and more flu-like symptoms have many children at one local elementary school staying home.

Kim Gault is one of many parents at Worthington Elementary School with a sick child at home. Gault is also the school nurse, and her office may be the one area in the school that's staying busy this week.

"A lot of parents are wondering why the school is still open," Gault said.

With Thursday's absences topping 100, that means nearly half the students aren't in school.

"At this time it is not recommended that we close the school," Teresa Bayer, Wood Co. Schools' Health Coordinator, said.

Bayer says it would take a major staff shortage for any school to close it's doors. With that said, she's doing everything she can to keep parents informed, including sending out a phone message to every student in the county.

As far as Worthington Elementary principal Joseph Oliverio can see, parents at his school are understanding.

"Our parents are super. We've just got kids that are sick," Oliverio said.

Any time a student misses school it's tough to make up those missed assignments, but because of such a great number of absences, that shouldn't be an issue.

"Pretty much the lesson plans in some rooms have been put on hold due to the number of kids that are absent, so the makeup work will be significantly reduced. In fact, we'll probably just pick up next week where we're supposed to be this week," Oliverio said.

As for the children who are in school:

"I think we still need to do the things that we should be doing every day; wash your hands, cough into a tissue or a sleeve, an upper sleeve if you don't have one available," Gault said.

Bayer says the H1N1 vaccination will be available for elementary students October 26. The vaccine is free of charge and is not mandatory.

Secondary schools will be scheduled at a later date.

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