Nearly 600 students were absent Monday from Oak Park School District 97 due to flu-like symptoms, which is the worst absentee rate for the district in 5 years, CBS news reported today on their website. More than 20 staff and teachers also called in sick. Workers spent Monday night disinfecting the schools, and all 8 elementary and 2 junior high schools remained open Tuesday. School officials are urging parents to keep sick children home to avoid spreading the flu to more students and staff. Parents are being asked to not return children to school until they are symptom-free for 24 hours.
The flu is hitting hard in Chicago. The Chicago Tribune reported that last week, Nazareth Academy in La Grange Park sent students home Monday and cancelled classes Tuesday and Wednesday because 25% of the students were absent due to illness.
Oak Park School District 97 has posted a list of flu-prevention guidelines on their website, which include the following:
1. Students with a fever of 100.0 or higher should not return to school until fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medications.
2. Students who have been vomiting or have diarrhea should not return to school until 24 hours after the last episode.
3. Students should be kept home if there are symptoms that keep them from participating in school:
- A cough or sneezing that cannot be controlled.
- Severe headache, body aches, earaches and extreme fatigue.
- Sore throat.
4. Wash hands often.
5. Cover your cough and sneeze.
6. Eat a well-balanced diet and get the proper amount of rest.
7. Replace toothbrushes often and after recovering from a cold/flu.
8. Be advised that many illnesses, including the flu, begin with symptoms that may be mistaken for the common cold. If you and/or your child have symptoms that last more than a few days, call a doctor for advice.
9. If you or your child catches a cold, doctors recommend rest, plenty of liquids, and non-aspirin medication to relieve fever, aches and pains.
For further updates about the status of Oak Park School District 97 schools, visit their website at www.op97.org.