Wesson hit hard by student illness

Published 6:00 am Monday, February 3, 2003

WESSON — A few hundred absent students reported on a dailybasis during the past week caused school officials to take drasticmeasures over the weekend in hopes of getting education at WessonAttendance Center back on track.

Although classes never had to be canceled teachers had a toughtime finding enough healthy students to pay attention to thelessons as a rash of stomach viruses, flu symptoms and colds spreadthroughout the school last week.

“We had 300 out on Thursday and 364 out (Friday),” saidPrincipal Billy Britt. “Some are missing four or five days with theflu and some have like a 24-hour virus.”

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Precautionary measures were taken throughout the week to noavail.

“We asked our teachers during the day to clean door knobs andother areas with disinfectant. They are also keeping Kleenex onhand,” said Britt.

As the week progressed, school officials watched as somestudents returned to classes and apparently spread the illnesses toothers and a cycle seemed to start.

Britt worried that if more measures weren’t taken the schoolwould have to shut down, a drastic step seen last week in FranklinCounty.

“We’ve got a machine in this weekend with some chemicals tofumigate the classrooms, gym, cafeteria, hallways, bathrooms,buses, everything,” he said.

The school’s heating system will also be run over the weekend tocirculate the disinfecting chemicals through the ducts to furthercleanse the school, said Britt.

“We hope to have a better week next week,” he added.

Britt encourages parents to keep their children out of schoolwhen running a fever, which is a sign that the child is contagious.He said school officials will work closely with students needing tomake-up work.

Parents should look for make-up work to be sent home and helptheir child keep up with the necessary studies.

To help prevent any further ailments, parents should make suretheir children are dressed appropriately for the weather, saidBritt.

“Also, make sure they have plenty of juices and warm food tokeep their immune system strong,” he said.

Britt believes the recent addition of a full-time nurse on staffwill assist in detecting and treating problems earlier as well.