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Health Dept. visits Sharpsburg school

Number of absent students and staff members prompts concern

Number of absent students and staff members prompts concern

January 16, 2008

SHARPSBURG ? About 40 students and four staff members absent from Sharpsburg Elementary School on Wednesday were suffering mainly from flu-like symptoms, a Washington County Public Schools spokesman said.

The number of sick students and staff prompted a visit Wednesday morning from the Washington County Health Department.

School system spokesman Will Kauffman said that shortly after the start of the school day, officials realized that at least 10 percent of students were absent. The school has about 306 students.

"Some of them came (to school) and then went home because of illness, not that they became ill there (at school)," Kauffman said.

Student services officials and the Health Department were notified, Kauffman said. An assessment was performed and questions were asked, but school remained open and will be open today, he said.

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"There was some question on whether this would warrant closing school," Kauffman said.

As a result of the spread of illness throughout the school, students and staff were reminded about safeguards against sickness, like washing their hands and not sharing drinks.

"It's the cold and flu season," Kauffman said. "So, everyone is keeping an eye on attendance for any number of reasons."

An AlertNow phone message went out to parents of Sharpsburg Elementary students telling them why the Health Department visited the school Wednesday. That message also included recommendations and tips for staying healthy, he said.

Kauffman said that the Health Department and the school system will continue to monitor the situation at Sharpsburg Elementary.

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