Influenza outbreak hits PCS
By Samantha Goff
Several absences from Perkins County Schools have been reported in the recent weeks, that include both teachers and students.
Confirmed cases of influenza as well as the stomach flu have been making their way around and created a “good percentage” of absences said Elementary principal Nicole Long.
According to the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department, influenza is highly contagious and is caused by the influenza virus, and is spread from person to person primarily through droplets, which are released when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
PC superintendant Phillip Picquet said absences reached a high of about 30 kids out in one day at the high school and around 60 kids absent in one day at the elementary.
The school policy states that a student must be 24 hour fever free without fever reducing medicine in order to return to school.
Long encourages parents to watch for symptoms which include fever, vomiting, and dry cough, and to not send the students to school if they aren’t feeling well. She said the school was also watching for symptoms and sending kids home as needed.
Though attendance has been substantially low, Long said “As long as we have enough teachers to teach, we won’t look for a closure.”
“We have all been exposed to it at the school, but we are doing our best to encourage good hygiene practices and also will be sanitizing the schools and the desks to the best of our ability” said Piquet.
He added, “ Hopefully parents are making the best decisions for their students, and should they feel its best to keep them home, we understand that.”
Piquet said numbers of absences were on the decline at this point but remembered that around this same time last year, a similar situation of above average absences due to a bug making its way around.