Flu outbreaks impact schools across Southwest Virginia

Approximately 25% of students at Lord Botetourt High School out sick with flu

This week, hundreds of kids are out with the flu.

BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. – Schools in the Commonwealth are seeing an increase in flu cases.

Approximately 25% of the student body at Lord Botetourt High School is out sick with the flu.

“Definitely seen an uptick here at the school,” said School Nurse Abby Rock.

Rock said symptoms range from a stuffy nose and sore throat to a high fever.

“Scratchy throats. Headaches are another common one that goes along with the fevers too,” said Rock. “Those tend to be the major ones that we’re seeing.”

Michael Moser, a Communications Specialist for Botetourt County Public Schools, said the flu is common this time of year, but the numbers are higher than they expected.

Custodians are consistently cleaning high-touch surfaces, and the district is asking students to wash their hands, cover their mouths when coughing, and stay home if they’re sick.

“As much as we want them to be here learning in person, the reality is that we also need to safeguard everybody else’s health,” said Moser. “Keep your student home if they’re sick. And wait until they’ve been fever-free for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medicine.”

But Botetourt’s not alone.

Andrew Lewis Middle School in Salem has seen a slight uptick in health-related absences, and Roanoke County Public Schools are maintaining their “COVID levels of cleaning,” according to district spokesperson Chuck Lionberger.

If parents are concerned about missed class time, Moser said there are other options for students.

“A lot of assignments and textbook readings can all be distributed digitally now. And so even if a student is at home sick, but maybe they’re feeling well enough to keep up with their studies, that’s possible,” Moser said.

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You can watch Lindsey during Virginia Today every weekend or as a reporter during the week!