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 Flu absenteeism high at N.L. schools 
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Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 1:54 pm
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Location: BC Canada
Post Flu absenteeism high at N.L. schools
Flu absenteeism high at N.L. schools
Last Updated: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | 9:13 AM NT
CBC News ... 81009.html

Schools on Newfoundland's east coast are seeing signs that the swine flu pandemic is surging.

Many schools reported this week that a lot of students were staying at home because of flu-like symptoms.

Education officials said 70 per cent of the students at one small school on the Burin Peninsula were off sick, while St. Thomas of Villanova in Conception Bay South, near St. John's, reported that 40 per cent of its junior high students were out of class.

Almost half of the school population — about 300 students — were reported sick at St. Peter's Junior High in Mount Pearl.

The Eastern School district told CBC News that since Monday, absenteeism rates have been growing, with roughly a third of students staying out of many schools.

The board's director of education, Ford Rice, said the H1N1 virus is spreading faster through the school district than expected.

"It's happening in all areas of the district," he told CBC News. "We're seeing it on the Bonavista Peninsula. We're seeing it in CBS [Conception Bay South] area, as well. It seems that as the week is going by, we are experiencing it throughout the district. What's surprising us, I guess, is that it happened so quickly."

The high number of students who are reporting sickness isn't surprising to the province's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Faith Stratton. "That's what we would have expected when we got to this phase of the pandemic."

Still, parents like Tracie Carter of Conception Bay South are worried.

"Will they have to shut the schools down, I guess, or try to get everybody well before it spreads too much?" she said. The school board said it won't close schools as long as there are enough teachers and staff to run them.

Stratton said health officials advise against parents keeping healthy kids at home.

"At least when the children are in school, we know what's going on and we can look after them, and we're keeping them out of other kinds of areas, where they might be at more of an increased risk."

Emergency staff at the Janeway Children's Hospital in St. John's say they've been run off their feet since Monday, with parents bringing in young people who have flu-like symptoms.

But Eastern Health said none of the children have been admitted

Something is going to happen, but what?

Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:17 pm
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