Today’s student count day won’t suffer from recent rash of flu absences

Published 3:29 pm Wednesday, February 9, 2005

By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Down for the count.
If the recent increase in the number of cases of flu prevent students from being in school today - on the winter count day - the administration still isn't worried.
Basically, the more students absent means more paperwork for the administration, as Law added, "we need documentation to prove to the state."
The State of Michigan chooses two days each year to verify the number of students attending school in a district, which forms the basis of that district's funding.
The winter count date only provides 25 percent of the school's funding. The other 75 percent comes form the first count date in September at the beginning of the school year.
Gary Rider, superintendent for Brandywine Public Schools, agreed.
Still they will do all they can do to make sure every student is counted, both said.
Not only has Rider himself been hit with the flu, school board members were absent from Monday's meeting and nearly every one of his building's principals have also lost days due to illness.
Getting the flu shot, Rider said, probably allowed a quicker recovery. He was out a couple of days, instead of a week or two.
Both respiratory and intestional ailments have been hitting Brandywine and all of Berrien County, said Carol Klukas, the Berrien County Health Department's Community Preventive Health Services manager.
The dozen lab-confirmed cases of the flu reported to the Health Department the first week of February alone tops the total for the month of January, Klukas said. "Yesterday we had eight or nine in one day.
She expects we haven't seen the flu peak yet this year, though last year that happened in December.
The Health Department offers these recommendations to avoid the flu.
Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, preferably with a tissue.
Clean hands after coughing or sneezing. Use soap and warm water or an alcohol-based cleaner.
If you get the flu, avoid exposing others by staying home from work or school.
Wash hands frequently.