District in epic flu battleIt’s bad enough when one person in a household is sick, but when a large percentage of a student body is sick, things get hectic.
By: Laura Kruse, New Richmond News
It’s bad enough when one person in a household is sick, but when a large percentage of a student body is sick, things get hectic.
The H1N1 flu and other sickness sweeping through the St. Croix Central School District have piled extra work on the already full days of staff members.
“Busy” is the word used by district nurse Denver Garfield to describe her last few weeks of work. She travels between all three of the district’s buildings, meaning she doesn’t get much of a break from sick kids. Luckily, she said, when one building is really bad, the others haven’t been as bad.
She said parents in the district have been pretty good about keeping sick kids -- or those on the verge of being sick -- at home.
Building and grounds supervisor Greg Green agreed. He said the janitors haven’t had too many more calls to clean up messes that result from sick kids.
Even when kids stay home, the district’s administrative assistants stay busy.
Kim Nielsen, elementary secretary, said they took 56 calls between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. on Monday morning. That doesn’t count the parents who left voicemails or e-mails saying their child would be staying at home.
“Oh heavens yes,” Nielsen said when asked if that’s more calls than a typical day.
Also on Nielsen’s and other secretaries’ plates is finding substitutes for sick teachers. On Monday, two teachers out of 40 at the elementary were out sick, or had sick kids to take care of.
So far the district isn’t running out of substitute teachers, she said. They are having some new subs step in to help out, however. Getting to know them has been a positive effect of the H1N1 flu, Nielsen said with a smile.
Keeping those in the building flu-free has been on the mind of Green.
Teachers and students have started sanitizing their desks every day in all the buildings, he said. Additionally, the janitors are sanitizing handrails, door knobs and doors daily. Lunch tables and bus seats are also subject to daily sanitizing.
Economy-size hand sanitizer bottles have been strategically placed throughout the buildings, Green said. Those traveling between buildings take a squirt of sanitizer on their way out of one building and back in another.
As for Garfield, Nielsen and Green, they said they’re doing what they can to stay healthy, including drinking water, eating healthy foods and sheer determination.
So far, it’s worked.