Flu hits schools hard

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A sign on high school nurse Ann Varrasso’s door educating the students on how to stop the spreading of germs. Blueprints/ Lauren Kiernan

Lauren Kiernan

In the district, many people have contracted the flu, including staff and students, causing many absences and problems with getting substitute teachers to cover classes.

This far into the flu season, the middle school has had 23 confirmed cases compared to the intermediate school having 74 students confirmed with the flu, there have been many more with flu-like symptoms.

Along with the students, the staff also get affected by the illnesses that spread through the school. At the middle school, there have been no confirmed cases of influenza among the staff but many have had to take days off take care of their ill children. And at the intermediate school, there have been 5 staff members that have been out multiple with both strands of the flu.

“The numbers are running the same as in previous years during flu season,” middle school Principal Lisa Ormond said.  

When school districts have so many teachers off at once, it can be difficult to find that many substitute teachers to fill their place. When the schools are short-staffed, other teacher often must fill-in wherever they may be needed. In many cases, Mr. Grime and Ms. Baker help cover classes in the middle school, along with Mrs. Ormond when necessary. 

“We also have to rely on staff to help out as well by giving up their planning period and/or combining smaller classes,” Ormond said. 

There are two main strings of the flu; Flu A and Flu B. One of the biggest differences between the two is the number of people it affects. Flu A affects roughly 75% of known cases, while Flu B impact around 25% of reported influenza cases.  

Many people are unaware of whether or not they have the flu or just a severe cold. The onset of the flu can be very sudden and someone can actually be very contagious before they know it and walk around in public infecting many others. According to High School Nurse Ann Varrasso, symptoms of the flu include cough, sore throat, fever (or feeling fevered) muscle aches, headaches, and fatigue. The best way to prevent getting the flu is to be very adamant in washing your hands. 

“Getting your rest and eating/drinking fluids can also be very beneficial to staying healthy,” Varrasso said.