Students sick, school officials aren't taking chances

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

SULPHER SPRINGS, TX (KLTV) - It was an odd sight for a Thursday afternoon at North Hopkins ISD. Buses were parked, the cafeteria was empty, and there was not a student in sight.

"There have been several deaths in the news lately, and I don't blame the parents," said Jim Westbrook, the principal of North Hopkins Elementary.

"I was surprised," said Candy Manson. "I'm actually glad they closed the school down."

Manson's sons attend North Hopkins, and she is concerned about H1N1, saying that one of her sons is already showing flu-like symptoms.

"My son has gone to this school for about four or five years, and they've never done this," said Manson. "So, you know it has to be pretty bad if they're going to shut the school down."

So far, her 11-year-old son Hunter has steered clear of the virus.

"I don't wanna get sick," said the 11-year-old.

That's because he's seen first hand how bad whatever is going around can get.

"A whole bunch of kids are saying that some kids are in the hospital and they...weren't feeling good," said Hunter Manson.

Westbrook says, Wednesday, students were calling in sick at a record pace.

"I would suspect that we were at 125/130, which is pretty close to one third of the students, were out by the end of the day," said Westbrook.

And, considering the fact that H1N1 could potentially be deadly, Westbrook says letting the air clear for a few days seems like the logical thing to do.

"It's a pretty bad illness," said Westbrook. "I don't know why us right now. But, it just happened to us."

District officials reiterated that there have been no confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus. They are just being cautious. Classes are expected to resume on Monday, and seasonal flu shots will be available to both students and faculty.

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