Flu-like illnesses hit school hard

The Gilboa-Conesville Central School is expected to reopen for classes Monday after a high rate of f
PHOTOGRAPHER:

The Gilboa-Conesville Central School is expected to reopen for classes Monday after a high rate of flu-like illnesses prompted administrators to close the building for part of this week.

The 350-student, K-12 school was closed Thursday because of absenteeism and remained closed to students Friday, which was a previously scheduled staff conference day, according to Interim Superintendent Annemarie Spadafora.

“Starting on Tuesday, we noticed our rate of absenteeism was going up,” she said. “On Tuesday, it was 25 percent [absent] and Wednesday, it was 28 percent,” Spadafora said Friday.

“At least 10 staff members also showed flu-like symptoms,” she said.

After consulting with the Schoharie County Health Department and Otsego-Northern Catskills BOCES, Spadafora said it was decided to close Thursday to provide a four-day break to help stem the spread of any illnesses.

School custodians were also wiping exposed surfaces throughout the school with disinfectant, Spadafora said.

Students and staff members were visiting the school nurse reporting varied symptoms, including coughing, upper respiratory difficulties and upset stomachs, Spadafora said.

County Public Health Director Kathleen Farrell Strack said Friday that similar flu-like symptoms were widespread throughout the county, but there were no particular clusters of reports.

“It’s all over,” Strack said. “We know the hospitals are inundated.”

No other school in the county has reported excessive illness rates this season, Strack said. She said the Gilboa-Conesville closure was a district decision and not ordered by the Health Department.

Categories: Schenectady County

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