Flu Plagues Bath County Public Schools
On Monday, January 27th, the Bath County Public School System announced it would be closed on Tuesday January 28th and Wednesday, January 29th. These closures are due to a spike in flu related illnesses among staff and students. During the shutdown the schools will undergo a deep cleansing. I reached out to Bath County Public School Systems Superintendent Mrs. Sue Hirsh about the closure and what the next steps would be.
I asked Mrs. Hirsh to talk to the listening audience about the process of closing the schools and what the next steps would be?
Mrs. Hirsh speaking:
“As you know, the decision to close school on any day for any reason is not taken lightly. We noticed that Friday of last week we had an unusually high number of absences; some were reported as flu others for illness not specified. It was about a hundred and seven absences, and that was an unusually high number.
I was hoping the weekend would give people who were not feeling well an opportunity to get some rest and to be healthier by the beginning of the week. However, when I asked for a count of absence yesterday morning that number had significantly increased. At the time I asked for it, which was shortly after the school day opened, there were a hundred and eighty-seven absences. Throughout the day we saw people arrive late or leave early so that number changed throughout the day.
Now, beginning early yesterday morning, I first talked with our local health department who referred my questions to the Central Shenandoah Health Department and later that morning I spoke with both their epidemiologist and their director. Taking their guidance and what I knew about our current staffing situation, and the potential for us not having adequate staff as teachers come to school frequently not always feeling their best without out of their desire to be there for their students. Putting all of that together it made sense to close for a couple of days.
During the closure we will continue the cleaning of the buildings to make sure we are ready when students return.
We informed the parents by School Messenger; a letter was sent home with students who were at school and also a Facebook announcement.”
I thanked Mrs. Hirsh for taking time out of her day to discuss this with our listening audience. Here are a couple of tips to remember during cold and flu season:
- Stay at home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze.
- Wash your hands to protect yourself from germs.
- Avoid touching your eyes nose or mouth when you come in contact with surfaces that may be contaminated.
- Practice other good health habits, make sure you’re getting plenty of rest, make sure you are eating a good diet and drink plenty of fluids during this time of the year.
I want to thank the Centers for Disease Control and Mrs. Sue Hirsh for some of the information contained in this report. For Allegheny Mountain radio, this is Danny Cardwell.