Thankfully, my bout with the flu lasted about a week and I was back in school on the Tuesday after our President's Day holiday. I didn't feel 100% until about Thursday, but I certainly wasn't bad enough to stay home. Besides, I was getting cabin fever.
It turns out that I had the Very Best Sub Ever while I was gone. This gal is going on my speed dial. Not only is she highly qualified in science but she graded all my tests. Did you get that? She graded all my tests. There was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, and I can't thank her enough for that. This means progress reports were only one day late, which was pretty amazing considering I'd been out, between snow day, sick days and a holiday, for a week.
However, we're hearing on the news and reading in the paper about the flu here in our area and how the epidemic is, perhaps, hitting its peak and things are improving. Every county around us has been closed for at least two days due to the flu. We have not. Quite frankly, we haven't seen a huge increase in absences.
I remember when I was teaching up in Ohio watching the flu sweep through our district and our building. It usually started with the elementary schools, then middle, and finally high schools. You could see it go through a classroom simply by looking out at the rows of desks...one section of the class would be absent, then another, then another, until it finally made its way through the whole class. We had days where the kids were literally lined up along the hallway by the office, heads resting on their backbacks, waiting for a parent to come pick them up. We had run out of room in the nurse's room, and the office, and they were spilling out into the hallway. Absent lists were running to three pages.
But this past week, at The School, our absence list was no bigger than normal. We did have a bit of a spike on Thursday but that was probably due more to the one hour delay due to sleet and ice than it was due to the flu. On Friday, we were back to one full page of absences, plus a few on a second page. Still, nothing really alarming. When it gets to a full two pages we start to be a bit concerned.
So..it's curious. Either we have a pretty healthy population of kids (doubtful), the kids are coming in sick and just gutting it out (doubtful again), or it just hasn't hit our area as hard as others (more probable). In the meantime I did the "If you sneeze or cough you better cover your mouth and nose with a tissue!" talk to all my classes. Last year I ran out of tissues during the second semester and offered extra credit for everyone who brought in a box. I had so many boxes brought in that I'm still using these boxes a year later. Good thing, too. I put a box on each lab table and the kids are using them. In fact, when someone sneezes you hear kids yelling "Get a tissue!", "Throw the tissue away!" and "Put gel on your hands!" At least they're learning some healthier habits. For now.
We'll see what this week holds.