School attendance unaffected by flu

TULSA COUNTY -- Local school districts report they are not seeing a spike in absences as flu season progresses. 

Tulsa and Sand Springs Public Schools said their attendance was at 93-percent this week. That is slightly higher than this time last year. 

Last flu season, the Oklahoma Health Department records show the flu peaked in mid-February. This flu season, data shows it spiked in mid-December. The health department said it is too early to tell if the worst of it has past since it lasts until May. 

"It's hard to tell if this year is particularly worse than last year, but what we are seeing is a lot of hospitalizations and even deaths within the state of Oklahoma," Leanne Stephens with the Tulsa County Health Department said. 

In Tulsa County, 225 people have been hospitalized for the flu since September and 22 have died. 

"We haven't seen a lot [of absences] so far," Megan Elliott with Northwoods Fine Arts Academy said. "I think district-wide we are only at 2-percent of kiddos reporting they are out sick." 

Schools are staying proactive to keep the germs out of the classrooms. 

"We provide Clorox wipes for our teachers, hand sanitizer, the parents send that," Elliott said. "A lot of the kiddos have the little ones on their backpacks and things. Then, we have signs to remind them to wash their hands." 

Fevers, chills, body aches, coughing, runny nose are just a few of the symptoms. 

Getting sick is easy since the germs are transported through droplets in the air. 

Stephens said being indoors in close quarters increases the risk of catching the flu. 

"If you are sick, you need to stay home," Stephens said. "If your child is sick, you need to keep them home from school. They should be fever free for 24 hours without the aid of fever reducing medication before they are sent back to school." 

The Tulsa County Health Department is still giving flu shots. 

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