Illnesses prompt many absences early in year


Taylor Nethery

Nurse Mary Fischer looks through student medication during lunch.

Taylor Nethery, Staff Writer

The school year has started off with a busy nurse’s office. The flu season got a head start this year with many students getting sick and missing school. COVID-19 cases have also remained an issue.

“We’ve seen more flu earlier than we normally would see it,” school nurse Julie L’Italien said. “And then COVID we’ve seen since the first day of school.”

I would recommend if they haven’t talked to their parents about getting the flu shot to definitely look at that.

— Mary Fischer, nurse

L’Italien and fellow nurse Mary Fischer have had a busy start to the school year. With kids stopping by for issues ranging from being sick to just needing a band-aid, the nurse’s office stays crowded throughout the day.

Changes have been made to alleviate some of the crowding. If students need band-aids, feminine products, safety pins, contact solution and deodorant, they’re available at all house offices and the front office.

“Kids that come in here for things that maybe could have waited are sitting here longer,” L’Italien said. “Maybe they just needed to come in and they just want to get a pad or a tampon and they end up sitting here for fifteen minutes before we can get to them.”

The nurses will not see students during passing periods. To visit the nurse, students do need a pass from a teacher to stop by – except during Flex Hour. Anyone can stop in during Flex.

Flu season has started earlier than expected this year with many students being out within the first nine weeks. Flu season is expected to come around October, but it got quite the head start. The nurses don’t expect it to go away anytime soon.

“I would recommend if they haven’t talked to their parents about getting the flu shot to definitely look at that,” Fischer said. “We’re seeing higher incidents earlier in the year, and we’re seeing where it’s a longer recovery.”

Students can stay safe during this flu and cold season by washing their hands, staying home when they’re sick, and coughing and sneezing into tissues instead of their hands.

“If you’re not feeling good you probably should really stay home,” L’Italien said. “I think social distance is still a fair thing to say as opposed to students laying all over each other at lunch.”