Flu bug roaming halls of Stratford

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Gazebo Photo by Kenzie Muenzer

Senior Loy Sheridan has the temperature of his forehead checked by Robin Schorr.

Hadley Neal and Anna Parel

Stratford students have returned to school after the winter holidays break.

But not all of them.  

Flu season has arrived in full force, affecting about 20 percent of the student population in the upper and middle schools.

“People are dropping like flies,” said Allen Free, an upper school geometry and statistics teacher.

On Monday, there were 54  high school and middle school students absent with the flu. On Tuesday, the number climbed to 63.  By Wednesday, a combined 84 were out. On Thursday, the number hit 102. On Friday, 80 students in the high school were missing for roll call.

Robin Schorr, an administrative assistant for the upper school, said students have been signing out left and right.

“We think it started with a select group of athletes that were practicing basketball together –male and female — and that’s how it took off in the upper school,” Schorr said. “I think for middle school it started with the siblings.” 

Michael Hokanson, a public information officer with Georgia’s North Central Health District, told The (Macon) Telegraph the agency tracks the severity of flu outbreaks on a scale of 1 to 10.

“We’re sitting at a 10,” he told the newspaper.

Students can take measures to minimize the risk of the flu.

“The first thing you need to do is wash your hands,” said upper school principal Margaret Brogdon. “Keep your hands away from your face and mouth. Use as much hand sanitizer as possible during the next few days. You need to drink lots of water and get plenty of rest. Often, when your body is tired, it is more susceptible to illness.” 

Head of School Dr. Bob Veto said not all students who are absent have the flu, and that “spikes the numbers.” He also had suggestions to safeguard against the illness.

“Preventative advice, in addition to hand sanitizer, are flu shots, those are obviously a good idea,” Veto said. “But if you get the flu, the best thing to do is to stay home, rest, and let it run it’s course. But I’m also kind of a traditionalist — hot soup, sleep, and getting warm under the covers until you get better.”

Rumors of a no-classes “disinfection day” are just that — rumors.

“We have no intentions of closing the school,” Veto said. “We’re hopeful  the three-day weekend will give everyone time to recover. In the meantime, the teachers have been given extra sanitizer, tissues, and Clorox wipes to use in their classrooms.”