Illness update: 120 and counting
More than one-third of student body absent today
Published: Friday, October 23, 2009 - 11:25pm
URBANA— The number of Uni High students absent today reached 120, or 38.6 percent of the student body. This compares to Thursday, when 91 were absent.
Subbies and freshmen were especially hard hit. For example, according to science teacher David Stone, only seven of the 21 students in his first-period freshman biology class showed up. In Steve Rayburn's second-period subbie English class, only 11 of 23 students were present.
As to what the students have been suffering from, the symptoms are similar to swine flu even if the number of confirmed cases remains small.
"They haven't been testing, but we were told we have at least four cases," responded Assistant Director Sue Kovacs when asked how many of the students had H1N1.
All of these absences mean one thing for Uni students: late work, and lots of it. Director Jeff Walkington sent out the following message to parents today in order to address questions concerning makeups:
Our school policy for makeup work is that “students will be able to make up credit for all work missed during an excused absence. Students must make up work within the same number of days they were absent.” In other words, if a student is out three days, he or she has three days after the return to school to turn in makeup work.
However, due to the unusual situation of our high number of absences, I am asking teachers to be more lenient in the time they give for the return of makeup work. The best judgment of the teacher still prevails, as long as the time required follows policy, but I believe our teachers will be even more understanding than they normally are during this extraordinary situation.
Also today, Athletic Director Sally Walker announced that the girls volleyball Senior Night match at Kenney Gym vs. Judah Christian originally scheduled for tonight has been moved to Monday, with JV action beginning at 6 p.m. and varsity to follow.
The girls swim meet scheduled for Saturday at O'Fallon has been canceled, but the Class 1A cross country regional meet at Kickapoo State Park will go on as planned.
Walkington acknowledged the extraordinary circumstances of this week, which saw the number of absences grow daily: 21 on Monday, 36 Tuesday, 47 Wednesday, 91 Thursday, and 120 today.
"This is not something that just Uni High is going through, but also schools all over the country," Walkington said.
Currently, Uni High relies on both "the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District and the McKinley Health Center here on campus [for advice]," he said. "They still recommend that we stay open."