Flu takes heavy toll on local students, schools

wwny Flu takes heavy toll on local students, schools

SACKETS HARBOR, N.Y. (WWNY) - In some local schools, the flu wiped out as much as a quarter of the student body in the last two weeks. But administrators say they’re pushing through the wave of illness.

One of the many things children learn at school is how to share. Unfortunately, that can mean sharing illness, too.

"We did have a rough couple of weeks. Last week specifically, our illness rates ran about 15-17 percent of our student body," said Sackets Harbor Central School District Superintendent Jen Gaffney.

"We did have 25 percent absenteeism at Theresa Primary School," said Mary Anne Dobmeier, Indian River Central School District superintendent.

With flu season taking its toll, administrators got to work sending out memos to parents and staff that anyone feeling ill should stay home.

Janitors had to bring out the big guns.

“We do have a disinfectant wand, so our school building as well as our buses were disinfected almost on a daily basis,” said Gaffney.

It got so bad, some students even got involved at Sackets by making a public service announcement to run during the weekly school broadcast.

“Our school is K-12, PreK-12 now, so there’s lots of little ones that spread germs everywhere,” said Braedon Kitto, Sackets Harbor student.

With last week being the worst for illness in local schools, some took advantage of snow days to let students and staff heal and disinfect.

"On Thursday night I made the decision to go ahead and close down on Friday knowing that Mother Nature was on her way, but also knowing we needed a three day reprieve away from each other so folks can get healthy," said Gaffney.

Officials think the wave of flu has crashed and settled.

"We do feel like we're in the clear because our absentee rates have come back down right where they should be this time of year," said Dobmeier.

But, flu season isn’t over yet. So schools are teaching an ongoing lesson: wash your hands; disinfect your belongings, and stay home if you’re sick.

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