The Sooke School District gave Sooke Elementary a deep-clean over the weekend after several students were off sick last week.
Scott Stinson, superintendent of SD62, said about 60 students called in sick last week and presented with flu-like symptoms, although nothing was confirmed in terms of what illness they had.
“What happens is when we have a higher-than-normal absentee rate, typically 10 per cent above, we report it to Island Health and work with them,” Stinson said.
The district then performed an “enhanced cleaning” of the school, with custodial staff working on the weekend to give hard surfaces like doorknobs and light switches a thorough clean.
Families were also sent a notice on Monday notifying them of the clean and reminding them to tell pupils to wash their hands and cough or sneeze into their elbows as opposed to hands. Stinson said the notice also advised families to keep pupils with compromised immune systems at home for a day or two.
This week the absentee rate is returning to normal Stinson said.
Events like this typically occur once a year depending on the height of the flu and cold season, according to Stinson.
“It’s a normal course of what happens in schools… with that many kids together,” Stinson said. “We do our best to make sure schools are cleaned regularly.”
Some tips from Island Health to prevent colds and the flu include regular hand washing, not sharing facecloths or towels, keeping hands away from the nose and mouth, not sharing food and drink with others and coughing and sneezing into the elbow.
Island Health advises parents to keep their child at home if they are feverish, coughing a lot, have thick yellow or green discharge from the nose or are otherwise unwell.