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Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 21:21
EL PASO — We talked to local school districts to see if they have seen an increase in school absences during this already active flu season.
There are two places the flu can spread very quickly: in the workplace and in the classroom.
"It's the most important thing that if they're running a fever in which we consider 100 or above that they keep them at home for sure," said Alana Bejarano with the El Paso ISD Health Services Department.
Bejarano said it's important that parents keep sick kids at home.
"The spread of the flu is half our battle, so if we can keep those away from the well kids until they're better, that minimizes infection rate going up," said Bejarano.
Bejarano said there's one thing teachers, parents and students can do to keep it out of the classrooms.
"High school students as well as our younger kids have to understand the best prevention is hand washing," said Bejarano.
Bejarano said absences are normal at this time but expect it to increase next month, which is usually the peak of flu season.
Canutillo ISD has seen about the same number of students out, as the same time last year.
"We did notice that in elementary schools we've seen a slight increase in absenteeism so perhaps this is affecting our elementary school, our younger kids a little more than it’s affecting our older kids," said Gustavo Reveles with Canutillo ISD.
School policy at both districts said if a student is absent from class three or more days, they must provide a doctor's note.
Both districts agree students need to feel well, to perform well.
"We need to take care of this and we need to make sure that students are healthy and ready for school," said Reveles.
Both districts offered all their teachers and staff free flu shots at the beginning of this flu season last year.