The flu has struck schools around the nation hard this flu season, especially with the influx of the H1N1 virus. But, it seems local schools are prepared.
The Salem School District, which had its mass flu clinic Oct. 26, vaccinated about 420 students with the seasonal flu vaccine and 280 with the H1N1 vaccine.
Salem Superintendent Ken Rich said the school has been educating students about hand washing and how the flu is spread to aid students in how to avoid the flu.
He said student attendance has been normal for this time of year with no more that 8 to 10 percent of students being absent.
The Viola School District held its mass flu clinic Oct. 28. According to school nurse Kristy Breen, the Fulton County Health Department administerd over 200 flu and H1N1 vaccines to students who had permission slips from their parents.
Viola Superintendent John May said school custodians have been wiping down desks and door handles after school. "We've also been stressing with kids about hand washing," May said.
He also said school attendance has remained fairly steady. However, he said there was one day in which about 50 of Viola's 410 students were out due to sickness. May credited the school's attendance rate to the fact that parents are keeping their children home when they are sick rather than sending them to school when they are running a fever.
The Mammoth Spring School District has also reported good attendance. "Our attendance is outstanding," Mammoth Spring Superintendent Ronald Taylor said.
Mammoth Spring had its mass flu clinic Oct. 30 and gave out seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines to about 50 percent of the school. According to the Fulton County Health Unit 44 H1N1 vaccines were administered along with 232 seasonal flu vaccines.
Taylor said for the past two years the school has been trying to avoid the spread of flu by spraying a germicide around the school at least once a week after students have gone home. He said buses that have been used for trips are also sprayed with the same germicide once they return. He said there is also a janitorial team that does nothing but bathrooms to make sure they are sanitary enough for students to use. "We're hoping that's helping," Taylor said.
Izard County Consolidated School District (ICC) has also managed to avoid the spread of the flu.
ICC Superintendent Fred Walker said the largest number of students who have been out due to illness so far has been about 40 in the elementary.
ICC held its mass flu clinic Oct. 26. Walker said he did not have the exact amount of students who took the seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines that were offered.
Walker said school custodians and maintenance have been doing their part to eradicate germs that spread the flu, and about 12 hand sanitizer stations have been placed at various locations throughout the campus.
Wanda Koelling administrator of the Fulton County Health Unit said H1N1 vaccines are still reserved for those 6 months to 4 years old.
Koelling said Arkansas schools have been fortunate so far this flu season. Mass flu clinics at Fulton County schools went well.
For more information about how to receive a seasonal flu vaccine call the Fulton County Health Unit at 895-3300.