Two types of flu empty classrooms
At least two types of illnesses have hit Cromwell's primary schools hard, with one school recording 63 absences yesterday.
Cromwell Primary School principal Wendy Brooks said 42 pupils were absent from school on Monday, with 63 children - 29 per cent of the school's 214 pupils - sick yesterday.
“That's a lot. We haven't had this many children away since the first year of the swine flu,” Mrs Brooks said.
The situation was so bad on Monday, she decided to send an email to parents asking them to keep their children at home if they showed symptoms of illness.
“The biggest issue for the school is children presenting at school with symptoms and then needing to go home during the day. It's better if they're kept at home in the first place.”
The school would normally expect about five pupils to be absent on any given day, so having 42 and then 60 pupils away had definitely depleted the classrooms, she said.
One new entrant's class had only four of its 16 children at school yesterday.
Meanwhile, Cromwell's other primary school - Goldfields Primary School - had also been hit by illness, with 37 pupils absent on Monday and 38 yesterday.
Cromwell Pharmacy owner and pharmacist Jackie Hamilton said the pharmacy had been receiving so many prescriptions for children, it ran out of Ibuprofen liquid for several hours yesterday.
That was the first time that had ever happened, she said.
The information she was receiving from the schools was that there appeared to be two bugs at the moment - a vomiting and diarrhoea bug and a cough and achy body-type illness.
One of the difficulties parents of young children faced was new rules from Medsafe meant children aged under 6 were no longer able to be prescribed any cough and cold medicines - they were only able to take natural products.
Mrs Hamilton said the best thing parents could do for their sick children was to keep them warm and comfortable at home and not to send them back to school too early.
Last week, St Theresa's School, in Bluff, closed for two days because 75 per cent of the school's 34 pupils were home with the flu.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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