Flu, Cold Cases Affecting Local Schools

Absences are about 10 percent above normal at SDUSD schools

By Steven Luke
|  Thursday, Jan 24, 2013  |  Updated 9:32 PM PDT
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Cold and flu season is in full swing in San Diego, and health experts are predicting it will only get worse in the weeks ahead.

Locally, the latest numbers include eight deaths last week with a death toll of 14 this season from influenza. All but one person had underlying health issues.

The number of people seeking emergency room help is rising with more than 1,000 cases reported from area hospitals.

At Adventure Days Preschool and Day Care - students and staff are being hit hard by the cold and flu season. Teachers said their private kindergarten classroom have noticeably fewer students the past couple weeks.

"Yesterday was one of our worst days, I was actually out sick, we had four teachers and then like half a school out,” said Campus Director LaTeresa Orepeza, who oversees 140 students. "This season, this last two weeks has been very, very overwhelming almost because so many people are sick."

Schools and facilities across the county are scrambling to shuffle staffing, making sure sick teachers don't affect their child care licensing.

"We have to have a 12 to 1 ratio when it comes to our pre-school, so if one of our teachers is out, we have to have a qualified teacher to step in,” said Orepeza.

She said they have managed so far because the school has had that same ratio of sick kids to sick teachers. The school even considered opening a sick room because for every kid missing school, that likely means a parent missing work.

In the meantime, they're wiping down tables more often and bleaching toys where little hands can spread big germs.

"It’s almost been like a rotating door, this group goes out and they come back feeling better and then the next group goes through it."

The county's largest school district, San Diego Unified, said absences are about 10 percent above normal, but said that is in line with what they've seen for the past few Januaries on record.

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