With the city of Boston declaring, this week, a state of emergency with the recent outbreak of influenza this winter, Walpole Schools Superintendent Lincoln Lynch informed the Walpole School Committee at their meeting Thursday night that, so far, there has not been an increase of students missing school due to the flu.
“Our absences are not beyond the usual range in Walpole. We’re ranging from 2.5-4.5 percent absenteeism rate, which is usually about the norm,” Lynch told the committee.
Lynch said school nurses are keeping an eye out for trends of the flu in Walpole schools.
“We’ve checked with the nurses regarding students that have been sent home. There have been students since the return from break, but none with high fevers. There were a few with temps less than 101,” he said.
“So right now, things can change, but we’re not seeing an increase in absentee rates or having numerous students sent home with symptoms of the flu. However, we were certainly seeing prior to the holiday break students that were sent home with [a temperature of 102,] there were a couple students, so that was our concern,” said Lynch.
School nurses in Walpole are doing daily absence surveillance and are reporting any students who are out with influenza.
A message will be sent home through the school mailing system with a link to the health services page on the school district website regarding flu facts and parents are reminded not to send their children to school unless they are fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication.
Lynch said they will be looking for any spike in cases of the flu and they are keeping an eye on the issue.
To view the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's fact sheet about the flu click here. Walpole will be holding a free flu vaccine clinic Jan. 22. For more information click here.