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Schools battle flu and concern
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Friday marked the end of the first nine week grading period for Bryan County Schools, so Oct. 12 was scheduled as a student holiday all along.

But given the H1N1 virus and the concern it caused this week, the three day weekend probably couldn’t have come at better time.

"It’s not untimely," said interim Superintendent John Oliver.

He said the day also will be a chance for teachers to take a break since the second of the school system’s three furlough days -- a cost saving measure -- is also slated for Monday.

"My hope is when we all come back Tuesday some of our students will have had the chance to be healed up a little bit," Oliver said. "But we are doing better than we were earlier in the week."

Oliver said only 90 of the more than 1,200 students at Richmond Hill Middle School called in sick Friday, which is approximately 8 percent of the student body. Of those, 38 had either "flu, or flu like symptoms, or strep or respiratory ailments," he said. The total number was down from earlier in the week when approximately 13 percent of the students at RHMS were absent for one reason or another.

That was well over the 10 percent benchmark used by state health workers in trying to track the flu virus. School districts to report whenever a school has more than 10 percent of its student body absent on a given day., no matter the reason.

Richmond Hill Middle School and Carver Elementary School have both met or exceeded 10 percent, and some parents have asked why schools haven’t been closed.

"To be honest, it would be when we don’t have the staff or children to be able to effectively conduct school business," Oliver said.

-Read more in the Bryan County News.

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