Friday, November 20, 2009

Dowagiac Schools Hit Hard with Flu But Remain Open

43-48% Of Pat-Ham Students Home Sick
School Districts all across Michigan have been canceling classes due to student illness.
We have received over 10 e-mails from parents and school staff stating the some schools have had as many as 48% of their students home sick.
We spoke with Dowagiac School Superintendent Peg Stowers on Wednesday. She stated that Friday 43% of Pat-Ham students were home.
One day last week almost 20 school districts from Muskegon South were closed due to student illness.
With 43%-48% of students at one school in Dowagiac were home sick, why didn’t Dowagiac Schools follow other districts and cancel classes?
We have heard time and time again that the administration puts the safety of students first. With 43-48% of students home sick, why would Dowagiac Schools not cancel class.
We contacted many school in the area and found out that all of them follow the suggestions of their local health department.
However some schools have guidelines in place to consider closing school:
  • Bridgman Schools: Considers closing schools when 30-35% of students are home ill.
  • Buchanan Schools: Considers closing when 25-30% of students are home ill.
  • Grand Rapids Public Schools: Considers closing schools when 25% of students are home ill.
  • Kent County Health Department: Recommends schools consider closing when 25% of a schools students are home sick.
One may ask why the Dowagiac Schools would even consider keeping Patrick Hamilton School open with 43-48% of their students home sick.
By looking at the guidelines other schools use, 43-48% of students home sick would seem enough to close that school.
Most parents are doing their job by keeping their children home if they are sick. It would seem that the Dowagiac Schools would be doing their part by closing a school when 43-48% of the students are home sick.
According the Berrien County Health Department they recommend that schools consider closing when the absentee rate reaches 30-35%
According to the Kent County Health Department the H1N1 Flu virus can live on a surface for 2-8 hours.
Although parents and schools can help remind students to wash their hand and to cover their mouth when they cough. It doesn’t do much good if a virus can live up to 8 hours on a surface.
One question parents need to ask is why Pat-Ham School remained opened when 43-48% of the students were home sick, especially when the virus can live up to 8 hours on a desk.

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