Influenza bug bites into school attendance
These are numbers no school district likes to see. And they may be rising.
Tonganoxie's student body has been hit hard this week by illness. On Monday and Tuesday, absences across the district were running at about 14.5 percent.
¢ If your child won't be able to attend school, officials ask that you call your child's school.
¢ At Tonganoxie Elementary School, parents may call 845-2290. An answering machine is available to record parents' messages before or after school.
¢ At Tonganoxie Junior High School and Tonganoxie High School, officials ask that parents call after 7 a.m. but before 10 a.m. The number for the junior high is 845-2627, and the number for the high school is 845-2654. Neither the junior high nor the high school has an answering machine.
Students are complaining of flu symptoms -- aches and high fevers -- as well as intestinal and stomach flu symptoms.
"We also have some kids out with strep throat," said Tammie George, assistant principal at Tonganoxie Elementary School.
Of the 776 students who attend TES, 134 students were absent from their classrooms on Monday. That's about 17 percent of the student body
"We're just under 120 who are gone this morning," George said at midmorning on Tuesday, adding she expected the numbers to to rise throughout the day.
And when that many students are gone, it affects what goes on in the classroom. One sixth-grade classroom was down to 10 students -- of 22.
"There are certain things you can't cover when you have that many students out of a classroom," the assistant principal said. "Teachers are doing some review and some enrichment."
And staff members are trying to avoid the bug.
"I have heard some teachers talk about using Lysol wipes, about wiping off desks," George said.
In addition, many TES faculty and staff, including George, took advantage flu shots offered in November.
At Tonganoxie Junior High, about 50 of the school's 364 students were absent on Monday and Tuesday, according to Diana Orrison, an office secretary. And Barbara Easter, attendance secretary at Tonganoxie High School, said 35 of the school's 380 students were absent on Monday.
"That's high," she said. "There are a lot of kids who are sick and there are a lot of kids going home."