School officials encouraging parents to keep sick children home

BULLOCH CO., GA (WTOC) - Flu continues to hit people across our region, including young people in schools. Once it gets into a school, it can be tough to fight before it makes the rounds and clears out.

Schools are trying to counter any flu germs that make their way to school but also to work with families to keep it contained until it runs its course. Bulloch and other surrounding school districts have seen anywhere from a five to a 10 percent increase in absences this month compared to normal. They say they've intensified some of the cleanings within schools and urged students to use hand sanitizer and reduce spreading any illness. They're also urging parents to observe their child and look for symptoms and keep sick kids at home to keep the illness from spreading further.

"So, we're trying to get parents to look at their children in the morning time and say. 'today's just not a good day,' and keep them home. If they're complaining of multiple symptoms, they've got something or it's the start of something," said school nurse, LaShaunda Staten, RN.

If you walk in most Kindergarten classrooms lately, you'll see bottles of hand sanitizer on almost every table. The spread of flu across our area has parents concerned.

"I've been hearing about children who've died from flu, so I've been taking a lot of precautions with them," said parent, Jennifer Henderson.

That includes reminding them to sanitize and/or wash their hands. Teachers say they're keeping an eye out and preaching hygiene, especially to younger students.

"Each time they cough, we're reminding them to cough in their elbow. Same thing when they sneeze. As soon as they finish with their tissue from sneezing or coughing, we make sure they sanitize," said Kindergarten teacher, Ashley Carter.

School nurses say parents shouldn't send their children back to school until they are fever free for 24 hours. If they come back sooner, they're likely spreading it to the next child and it could even circle back to them.

"While we admire the parents for wanting them to go to school, you don't want all that going around," Staten said.

Staten says teachers and schools can only do so much to protect children from the flu, but they need parents help as well.

We spoke to several superintendents Wednesday morning who say several school districts have taken steps to try and rid their schools of the flu, from intensifying normal cleaning to weekend fumigation to try to wipe it out once and for all.

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