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District addresses flu, other sickness at Sharon Elementary School

About a quarter of students at Sharon Elementary were absent Monday as influenza and other sickness swirled around the school, raising concern on social media among parents of students there.

School Principal Amy Bartlett sent a recent email to parents, encouraging them to keep children home if they experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, persistent coughing, stomach trouble, ear pain and sore throats.

“We continue to experience a high number of absences and students with similar symptoms of sickness,” Bartlett wrote.

Hannah Orr Samples, a spokeswoman for Forsyth County Schools, said 236 students were absent from Sharon Elementary on Monday — 33 of which were sent home sick by the nurse. The overall enrollment of Sharon Elementary is 972.

“Sharon Elementary has had student absences with similar symptoms of sickness,” Samples said.

Samples went on to say that 55 absences were confirmed cases of the flu “but there are other contributing factors to the absences — other illnesses like strep throat and viral infections and travel.”

In her email, Bartlett told parents that county office employees would be providing additional assistance, including a deep cleaning of the entire school.

Samples confirmed that Monday night a deep cleaning of the facility had taken place.

Samples added that the number of absences at Sharon were “not large scale, especially because the highest number of absences is isolated to two grades — third and fourth.”

She added that all other schools in the district have at least 89 percent of students attending, which is normal at this time of year.

Dawn Anderson, who has a kindergarten student who attends Sharon Elementary, said her child came down with a fever Sunday but was feeling better as of Tuesday.

Anderson said she’d initially learned of the sickness making rounds at the school from a local Facebook group’s page.

“[That] clued me in, and then suddenly just in our neighborhood alone, kids around here are down for the count,” Anderson said.