“Several Queen Anne’s County schools have had absentee rates of up to 20-percent over the last two weeks, but the system’s supervisor of student support services says he cannot necessarily attribute the recent spikes to H1N1 virus. Up to one-fifth of students has been absent from Sudlersville Middle School, Sudlersville Elementary School and Bayside Elementary recently, according to Ralph Marketto, supervisor of student support services for the Board of Education.
“”In Queen Anne’s County, at 10-percent (absenteeism), we automatically have to refer that to the health department,”” Marketto continued. Queen Anne’s County’s Health Officer Chinnadurai Devadason was at a meeting in Baltimore and unavailable for comment, but Marketto said he was not aware of any lab-confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza at the schools and that it was unlikely that the school board would close any schools.
Together with the health department the school board has sent prevention information home to all parents in the system and individual schools also have sent letters home, reminding parents that children should wash their hands, avoid large groups and stay home when they are sick. The county’s health department is offering a series of flu vaccination clinics. Those interested can call 410-758-0720 or visit http://www.qahealth.org.