The level of absences at two schools in Richland 2 were high enough Friday that the district sent letters home reminding parents of influenza prevention tips.
Absences at North Springs Elementary and Sandlapper Elementary were nearing the 10 percent levels, said district spokeswoman Libby Roof. The situation hasn’t reached levels that would prompt closing of the schools, but school officials and state health officials want to keep parents alert to the concerns, Roof said.
All of the absences aren’t related to flu, but many of the children being sent home or staying home have reported flu-like symptoms. Early in the week, Hammond School closed its Lower School for two days because of the high number of students with flu-like symptoms.
Flu levels have been on the rise for several weeks in South Carolina. The percent of patients reporting flu-like symptoms at primary care physician offices hovered around 3 percent for a couple of weeks before jumping to around 6 percent the past two reporting weeks, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.
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The message sent to North Springs and Sandlapper parents is the same one health officials stress during flu season. The best ways to slow the spread of the virus are to wash hands frequently and thoroughly, cover your mouth when you cough and stay home when you’re sick.
It’s also not too late to get a flu shot, though the protection provided by the shots doesn’t take effect for 10 days to two weeks.