Archive for Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Illness strikes Tonganoxie schoolchildren

January 30, 2002

Tonganoxie school children have been hit hard by winter's ailments.

"By the middle of last week, we had 80 kids gone," said Tammie George, assistant principal at Tonganoxie Elementary School.

Stephanie Hebert, the school nurse, said symptoms have varied.

"We've just got a little bit of everything," she said. "We're seeing some high fevers that seem to be viral, but we're also seeing strep throat and stomach complaints."

The unseasonably dry and warm winter hasn't done any favors for children who suffer from seasonal allergies, Hebert said.

"The weather just kind of set them up," she said. "We're seeing a lot of seasonal problems and a lot of congestion."

At Tonganoxie Junior High School, Heather DeMaranville, school nurse, said last week was rough.

"We counted on Tuesday and there were over 50 kids gone," DeMaranville said. "But by the end of the week it was starting to look better."

Junior high students, she said, seemed to be suffering from flu-like symptoms, some with fevers, headaches and all-over aching. Others, she said, complained of upset stomachs.

Meanwhile, at Tonganoxie High School, Mike Bogart, principal, said Monday morning that all was not well.

"We have sickness," Bogart said. "Even the attendance secretary is sick."

The number of absences was up.

"We have had up to 40 students any one day and that's over 10 percent absence rate," Bogart said. "Ninety-five percent is normal and good, 90 percent is not."

So far, Bogart said, the faculty and staff doesn't seem to be hard hit by illness.

"I think the teachers have a certain immunity against it," Bogart said. "But we have had some teachers absent with illness, we have three gone today."

At Genesis Christian Academy, Michele McPherson, school secretary, said Monday that eight children were absent. The school, which includes a preschool, has an enrollment of 130.

"We seem to have a lot of stomach flu and strep going around now," she said.

Hebert, the elementary school nurse, said the basic precautions against illness are much the same as they've always been.

"We'll just drink lots of orange juice and we'll wash our hands," she said, "and wait for spring."

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