Parents concerned about H1N1 coming home - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Parents concerned about H1N1 coming home

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - Tracking H1N1, with a number of area schools reporting large numbers of absent students, we've had several parents call into our newsroom with concern. Schools in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Dubuque and Waterloo have reported absentee rates higher than 10-percent.

As hallways filled with students this fall - the number of students absent has increased.

"At east high we had about 25% of our students out. And at carver middle school we had 20 percent of our students out," said Superintendent Dr. Gary Norris.

And that's making some parents concerned about students bringing more than homework back home. One mother, who wouldn't go on camera, tells us she worried about her kids. One in kindergarten the other in first grade at Lowell Elementary in Waterloo. So worried she kept them home from school Tuesday.

"And I have someone that has a disease that a common cold can turn into hospitalization. So my kids if my kids bring something home, I need to be aware that this is going on," said the mother we talked to.

But the Waterloo Community School District doesn't have a specific policy that gives specific numbers. They are treating the H1N1 like any flu outbreak.

"The Center for Disease Control and Blackhawk County Health Department have now suggested, as opposed to last year, that schools stay open and treat the flu with students staying at home," said Norris.

So more students staying home, means less people getting exposed to possible H1N1 cases. And those numbers aren't as alarming as they seem.

"Lowell has 34 absences today for about 10 percent of their population. On a given day in the winter that number is a little higher but this is typical," said Norris.

"I'm just asking for a letter to be sent home. Just that there were a lot of sickness at this time," said one mother.

Waterloo schools will continue to work closely with the Health Department. In the meantime schools will continue to teach the three C's: clean your hands, cough in your sleeves and clean the air by staying home if you're sick.

Officials say doctors in the Waterloo area are not testing for H1N1 because of the high cost, instead they are treating every flu case like H1N1 and asking everyone to stay home. The school district also has a link on their website to help educate parents about the flu.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires
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