Local News

Absences close Fayetteville school

Posted October 15, 2009 10:47 a.m. EDT
Updated October 15, 2009 7:29 p.m. EDT

— A Fayetteville private school was closed Thursday and will remain closed Friday, as a precaution against illness, a spokeswoman said.

Students in grades K-12 got two days off from Liberty Christian Academy, at 6548 Rockfish Road, so the school could be cleaned and disinfected. This school, which opened in 1999, has a total enrollment of 328.

“We’ve had two students diagnosed with H1N1,” Principal Duncan Edge said.

Edge said he made the move as a precaution, after noticing that absenteeism was high. About 20 percent of the student body was out sick earlier in the week, and teachers were feeling the ill effects as well, he said.

"We had a teacher who was pregnant and went home (with flul-ike symptoms) yesterday,” he said.

Healthy teachers and staff used bleach and anti-bacterial agents Thursday to scrub down walls, desks and other surfaces in anticipation of the students' return on Monday.

"We made sure we Lysol-ed everything, Clorox-ed everything the best we could," Edge said.

Absences high to east, schools stay open

The Edenton-Chowan school system in northeast North Carolina is feeling the effects of a flu outbreak. More than 13 percent of the 300-member student body was absent Wednesday, district spokeswoman Michelle Maddox said. About 250 students were out sick Thursday. The greatest percentage of absenteeism was reported at the county's two elementary schools.

Many of the ill students have reported flu-like symptoms, but some have strep throat or other upper-respiratory illnesses, Maddox said.

The 300 absentees are about triple the average for a school day.

Schools will stay open and administrators encouraged students, parents and teachers to step up efforts to keep surfaces and hands clean. Officials are allotting time throughout the day for teachers and students to wash their hands before the use of high-traffic areas such as computer labs and group workstations.

"Our teachers and staff have been trained on hand washing and proper sneezing and coughing etiquettes that they should be using," Maddox said. "We are also encouraging and teaching our students about hand washing and proper sneezing and coughing etiquette."