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Update: Oneida City School District fights flu

Since Monday Oct. 19, the Oneida City School District has several-hundred student absences. "Less than one-third" of the reported absences had the basis of flu-related symptoms, according to Oneida City School District Superintendent of Schools Ron Spadafora.

A letter with flu prevention details was sent to homes in the district at the commencement of the school year and again, another memo was sent a few weeks ago to remind parents of health precautions, such as necessary hand-washing, Spadafora said.

The district reported 600 absences Oct. 19, with the high school taking on the most, with 270 absences. Activities and athletic practices were cancelled Oct. 19, 20 and 21 throughout the district. Athletic completion Oct. 20 was also cancelled, causing soccer and field hockey teams to take the day off.

As of Wednesday Oct. 21, the high school kept the top spot in the district with a reported total of 257 absences. The entire district reported almost 600 absences once again Oct. 21, according to Spadafora.

However, today Thursday Oct. 22, Spadafora said the district delivered better news with absences down by about 25 percent and the high school reporting 70 less absences and 50 less absences at the middle school, which were the two schools with the highest number of absences. School activities, including athletics, will resume from here on, unless coaches and program leaders are advised otherwise, Spadafora said.

"It looks like we've peaked," Spadafora said. "There are other things going on, like sinus infections and strep throat."

While keeping a child at home can be difficult for child care reasons, Spadafora said the district cannot facilitate sick children that cannot attend school, and there is no other option but to keep them at home until they are over the illness.

Several county agencies such as the American Red Cross Madison-Oneida Chapter and the Madison County Health Department have repeatedly announced reminders in the community regarding health precautions that could help prevent the spread of the illness.

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