Owen schools escaping flu bug bite for now

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By Molly Haines

While some school districts across the state of Kentucky have shut down due to H1N1 virus and other illnesses, Owen County students remain healthy.

Owen County School District Director of Pupil Personnel Charlotte Elkins said the attendance rate for the year remains high.

“We’ve been in good shape so far,” Elkins said. “The rate for the year so far for the district is 95 percent. That’s from the beginning of the year up to last Friday.”

Elkins said there have been no confirmed cases of H1N1 in the district.

“We had one probable case and a couple of possible cases,” Elkins said. “We’ve had more of a problem with stomach viruses.”

Owen County School Board Superintendent Mark Cleveland said as of Monday afternoon the attendance rate had dropped 4 percent.

“The attendance rate dropped to 91 percent,” Cleveland said.

The cause for the rate drop is unknown but will be watched carefully, Cleveland said.

“We’re not sure what it is, we don’t know if these students have the flu or a virus or what. 91 percent is not enough to alarm us yet and we will monitor it throughout the week.”

Cleveland said the average rate has been 94.7 percent and the goal has been 95 percent attendance.

Elkins said school nurses have worked to educate students and staff have worked to keep things clean and sanitized.

Three Rivers District Health Department Director of Public Health Georgia Heise said a vaccine for the H1N1 virus is expected any day now.

“The first shipment we receive will only be 100 doses,” Heise said. “We will only be able to give that out to those who are aged 2 to 49.”

Heise said when the second shipment is received, they should have about 1,000 doses.

“Everyone 10 and up will only have to take one shot,” Heise said. “Those 10 and under will have to receive a booster shot just like with the regular flu vaccine.”

Heise said once larger shipments are received, Three Rivers will advertise information on when the public can receive the vaccine.

Shipments of the vaccine are expected every week.

Heise said Three Rivers is the only facility in Owen County that will distribute the vaccine.