Middleton schools warns of elementary with high absentee rate - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Middleton schools sends out H1N1 update, elementary school with high absentee rate

MIDDLETON (WKOW) -- Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District is notifying parents that absenteeism at one of its elementary schools has reached a high level, with nearly 20 percent of students out ill, most with flu-like symptoms.

School officials told parent that nearly 20 percent of the student body at Sunset Ridge Elementary missed classes Tuesday, and that 75 percent of those ill were reporting flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, body aches and fatigue.

Below is the full news release, sent to parents of Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District:

This message is being sent out in an effort to make you aware of the current H1N1 status in our schools.

Nearly 20% of the student body at Sunset Ridge Elementary was out ill Tuesday, with many (approximately 3/4 of the 20%) of them having symptoms of fever, cough, headaches, body aches, and fatigue. These are symptoms of H1N1 influenza, which is predominantly the influenza that is circulating throughout the U.S. at the present time. It is not surprising to hear of these absences, as other school districts have reported similar absentee rates. The other schools in our district are also seeing influenza-like illness, but not at the same rate as Sunset Ridge (between 1 and 8%).  These numbers vary each day.

Many people are under the impression that a certain absentee rate will trigger schools to close. This is NOT the case. Each illness outbreak is handled individually, with Public Health Madison & Dane County working cooperatively with school administrators to determine the best approach to take.

The same routine cleaning practices will continue at this time. The H1N1 virus is able to survive on a surface for 2-8 hours, so extra cleaning measures during the evening are not necessary, as any virus on surfaces will be dead by the time children arrive back to school the next day.

For now we are doing everything we can to keep our schools functioning as usual. Here are a few things you can do to help.

  • Keep sick children at home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have fever or do not have signs of fever, without using fever-reducing drugs.  Keeping children with a fever at home will reduce the number of people who may get infected. Any children who are determined to be sick while at school will be sent home.
  • Teach your children about the ABCDs:

A. Avoid touching mouth, nose or eyes

B. Be sure to wash hands often

C. Cover your cough

D. Don't go to school if you are ill 

If the flu becomes more severe, we MAY take additional steps to prevent the spread such as:

  • Conducting active fever and flu symptom screening of students and staff as they arrive at school
  • Making changes to increase the space between people such as moving desks farther apart, revising bus routes, changing lunch procedures and postponing field trips
  • Dismissing students from school for at least seven days if they become sick.

For more information, visit www.flu.gov, or call 1-800-CDC-INFO for the most current information about the flu. For more information about H1N1 flu in our community and what our district is doing, visit www.mcpasd.k12.wi.us/H1N1.cfm. We will notify you of any additional changes to our district's approach to preventing the spread of influenza.

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