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Sickness empties Madison classrooms

By Staff
Thomas Tingle
Record Managing Editor
Between 15 to 17 percent of Madison City School's 6,000-plus students are at home this week sick.
The school system's nurse, Bonnie Davis, said most of the city's eight schools have experienced 15 to 17 percent absenteeism in its daily attendance due to respiratory illness, fever and a stomach-related virus.
"I was hoping that we'd start seeing the numbers come down, but we haven't reached that peek number yet," Davis said. "In talking with the school nurses in the Madison County School System and the Huntsville City Schools System, the situation is basically the same. There are a lot of students and teachers home sick."
Davis said sickness across the local school system is widespread – noting that Rainbow Elementary School and West Madison Elementary School experienced 17 percent absenteeism last week.
"This is the season when sickness hits hard in the schools," Davis said. "So far, we've been fortunate that the illnesses hasn't seriously affected our teachers. The situation wasn't the same in Huntsville last week at Westminster Christian Academy where both campuses were closed because they had such a high number of teachers out sick and not enough substitute teachers to come in and help."
Davis said she has stressed the importance of students and teachers keeping their work areas clean and washing their hands frequently.
"I've seen several teachers taking cleaning materials into their classrooms to clean and make sure their rooms are wiped down and all of our teachers are taking the steps necessary to make sure the students clean their hands," Davis said. "Should the percentage in the number of students who are absent rise to 20 percent or more, we'll then make a decision as to whether or not we'll have to close the schools."

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