Flu-Infected Students Plague Seaholm

A record number of absences for the 2012-2013 school year hit Seaholm last week, with 175 students out on Wednesday, January 9

According to a January 9 letter from Principal Dee Lancaster, the absent students reported symptoms of cough, chills, congestion, nausea, and fever.

“It’s the flu,” attendance manager Sue Pomroy said. “The flu has hit Seaholm.”

Pomroy has also noticed another trend. Students coming in for one or two class periods, while ill.

“A lot of kids are just signing in for one AP class and they are spreading it around,” Pomroy said.

Senior Sarah Levett said that students’ desire to come to school sick because in class lessons are key tools for success in difficult AP classes.

“It’s just too difficult to catch up,” Levett said. “I’m in AP calculus AB and as really great as Mr. Bruns and Mr. Passarelli are at helping with catch-up and making the material available to review, nothing is better than actually being in class.”

According to Pomroy, the prominence of sick students coming into class caused principal Dee Lancaster to send out an email to parents, requesting that sick children are kept home the entire day.

“A number of students who have these symptoms are still coming to school for individual classes, particularly AP courses,” the email from Lancaster said.  “While we certainly understand the need to keep up with classwork, it is spreading the illness to many others in the building.”

Levett also believes that the early hours of the testing center cause many students to come in to take a test in class, to avoid waking up extra early in the future.

“5:45 is cruel, unusual, and a major turn-off when deciding whether or not to come in sick,” Levett said.

Denise Lippitt, M.D., a West Bloomfield pediatrician said there has been a significant increase in local flu patients over the last two weeks. Nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the flu is as high levels in 41 of the 50 states – including Michigan.

According to Lippitt, when students leave the house for a class or activity, they are just making things worse.

“Going to school and extra curricular activities while sick just adds to [the spreading of the virus],” Lippitt said.

Lippitt believes that there are no excuses as to why a sick child should be out in public.

One hundred percent keep your kids home if they are sick,”Lippitt said.

According to Lippitt, Flu-infected students can expect to be out for a week. Lippitt tells parents to send their students back to school 24-48 hours after their last fever.

Levett believes missing this extended amount of school would be extremely difficult for a Seaholm student.

“You’ve got new assignments on top of the old,” said Levett, “and it’s really hard to make up everything in one night.

Overall, Lippitt said a student’s health should be everyone’s top responsibility.

“Your body is the first priority,” Lippitt said, “and it’s a public health risk if people don’t stay home and recuperate.”

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