Flu fears may shut Leduc school - Metro US

Flu fears may shut Leduc school

A Leduc junior high may be forced to shut its door this week, following an unusually high number of missing students and rumours of a possible H1N1 outbreak.

Black Gold Regional Schools officials confirmed yesterday that approximately 140, or 30 per cent, of Leduc Junior High students were absent Friday.

“There is an abnormally high absentee rate, but we don’t have any confirmed cases of anything,” associate superintendent Dennis Nosyk told Metro yesterday.

School staff began to notice increasing numbers of empty desks Thursday. When fewer students turned up for classes Friday, officials notified Alberta Health Services, fearing a potential H1N1 outbreak.

School staff are hoping attendance will return to normal today, and quash rumours of a looming closure.

“But, if (Alberta Health Services) tells us it’s time to close the school, we’ll close it,” Nosyk said.

Approximately 460 students attend the Grade 7 to 9 school.

The average October absentee rate hovers between eight and 10 per cent.

The health authority hasn’t imposed mandatory H1N1 testing or immunization for the school’s students, though increased measures are in place to slow the potential spread.

Hand sanitizer stations sit at each entrance, computers are wiped down between each use, and staff are ensuring astudents wash their hands, Nosyk said.

Parents were contacted regarding the potential outbreak, Nosyk said.

“We are very concerned. We want to make sure all our kids are healthy,” he added.

Free mass immunization clinics opened their doors across the province today.

For a complete list of locations, visit www4.albertahealthservices.ca/immunization.

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