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Okanagan Skaha schools sees surge of absences for both students and staff

Seasonal respiratory illnesses have hit classrooms hard this month, says superintendent
Surge in respiratory illnesses hits SD67 schools. (File photo)

Okanagan Skaha School District is seeing half-empty classrooms and a high rate of absences of both students and staff as the region is being hit with seasonal respiratory illnesses.

“We are experiencing high levels of absences for both students and employee groups throughout the district at this time, which puts additional pressure on our schools, our human resources team and our casual staff,” said Todd Manuel, superintendent of schools for SD67.

“We are grateful for the support and flexibility that our administrators, teachers and support staff are providing in response to additional pressures of increased absences, and for the support of parents as they determine when they need to keep their children at home.”

For the past two years, the school district has been dealing with COVID. While COVID continues to circulate in schools, it is the respiratory illnesses that are having the biggest impact right now.

The district has been in contact with the Medical Health Officer and has been informed that they are seeing seasonal respiratory illnesses in the community including influenza and COVID.

There are preventative measures we can continue to take, including getting vaccinated, staying home when sick, and following general hygiene measures like hand washing.

“We know that for parents, deciding if their child is too sick to attend school is not always an easy decision,” said Manuel.

He recommends parents and caregivers look at the district website which includes current messaging from the health authority to support parents to determine when to keep their children home.

READ MORE: Still time to get your flu shot for the whole family

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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