Flu keeping students out of schools
TRURO - A vast majority of area schools are reporting increased levels of absenteeism as the H1N1 virus continues to spread.
While school board officials can only attribute the numbers as "absent due to illness," the wide-spread numbers do correlate with an increase in the number of people attending flu-assessment clinics.
"We did see a huge increase in the visits to the flu assessment clinics yesterday," said Krista Wood, spokeswoman for the Colchester East Hants Health Authority, of Monday's numbers. "So the numbers are increasing at the assessment centre."
On Monday, nearly 130 people visited the assessment centre in the former Douglas Street school, Wood said. That is up from 19 individuals who were checked out at the site when it opened on Saturday and nearly double Sunday's attendance of 67 persons who were assessed.
"Given the symptoms we're getting, I think there's an assumption that the majority of cases we're seeing are in fact H1N1," she said.
And school attendance numbers also indicate a growing increase of people falling victim to illness.
Yesterday, 21.7 per cent of the student population at Upper Stewiacke Elementary School was out sick. On Friday, that number stood at 11.7 per cent.
Bible Hill Central Elementary School recorded an absenteeism rate of 20.8 per cent yesterday (up from 11 per cent on Friday) while Redcliff Middle School reported a rate of 20.4 per cent (11 per cent on Friday) and Brookfield elementary saw 19.1 per cent of its students out of commission (compared to 14 per cent on Friday).
Absenteeism rates varied among the remainder of the schools with only four schools within Colchester County reporting absences lower than on Friday. Those included Hilden elementary (below 10 per cent out on Tuesday compared to 38.7 per cent on Friday), South Colchester Academy (10.7 per cent, down from 12.1 per cent), West Colchester Consolidated (which includes Bass River elementary, down to 10.4 per cent from 13 per cent), and Bible Hill junior high, where yesterday's absentee rate was 19 per cent compared to 20.8 per cent on Friday.
Debert, Tatamagouche and Great Village elementary schools and Cobequid Consolidated and North Colchester High were all reporting absenteeism rates lower than 10 per cent, so specific numbers were not available.