McAlester Schools Deal With Flu Outbreak

Monday, September 14th 2009, 5:15 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

McALESTER, OK -- Schools across Oklahoma are watching for signs of sick students and the H1N1 virus.  One school district is fighting what's believed to be the swine flu as roughly 10% of high school students stayed home from school with flu like symptoms.

At McAlester High School, they're hoping for a better school week this week, than last week.  The school was hit by the H1N1 virus.

"They do believe that 98% I think of flu like symptoms probably are H1N1," said McAlester Superintendent of Schools Tom Condict.

Of the nearly 850 students that go to McAlester High School, last Thursday 88 of them were absent with flu like symptoms.  On Friday, 73 students missed classes.

"Fortunately, the symptoms have been mild, we've had no cases of hospitalization," said McAlester Superintendent of Schools Tom Condict.

The school district is working with the Pittsburg County Health Department to spread the message about the spreading virus, and how to avoid it.

"Not normally are we encouraging students to stay home, but under these circumstances, it's better that they do," said McAlester Superintendent of Schools Tom Condict.

The McAlester High Television Production Department produced a segment that aired on local cable, and in classrooms in the district.

Teachers and administrators are also emphasizing ways to stop the spread of H1N1.

"Cough into their sleeve, or tissue, tissue is even better.  Wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water preferably," said McAlester Superintendent of Schools Tom Condict.

As for Monday, the number of absences at the high school due to flu like illnesses dropped to only three dozen, which school leaders hope is a good sign that shows the school is turning the corner on this bout with H1N1.