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Influenza, COVID-19 contribute to spike in student absences at Platteview High
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Platteview High School

Influenza, COVID-19 contribute to spike in student absences at Platteview High

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Nebraska continued to rank among the nation's hot spots for COVID last week, with cases and hospitalizations both rising again.

Student absences reached unusually high levels this week at Platteview High School, prompting district officials to alert parents.

Both Influenza A and COVID-19 appear to be contributing to the spike, a district spokesperson said.

Ryan Saunders, superintendent of the Springfield Platteview Community Schools in Sarpy County, sent a note to parents Wednesday saying officials are closely monitoring the situation.

On Wednesday, 35% of students were absent from the school — that’s 137 of the school’s 391 students.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the school had received confirmation of 27 flu cases and five COVID-19 cases, officials said.

Not all absences were because of illness, officials said.

The district reported that 22% of Wednesday’s absent students were out for other reasons.

Normally, this time of year, the school will experience between 10% and 15% of kids out per day, officials said.

Absences had started to rise late last week, district spokeswoman Nichole Baugh said.

Absences peaked on Monday but have come down slightly since then, she said.

On Monday, nearly 41% of students were absent. On Tuesday, almost 37% were absent, the district reported.

Baugh said officials are considering all options moving forward, but officials are hopeful they can keep the school open.

“We and the board feel strongly about keeping the school open,” she said.

Learning is still happening, and the kids who are still there appear to be well, she said. Final exams are scheduled for the week after next, she said.

“We’re going to keep tracking the numbers and see where we are (Thursday) and Friday,” she said.

Baugh said that as of Wednesday the district’s middle and elementary schools had not experienced a spike in absences. The district was not seeing unusually high absences among teachers at the high school, she said.

Masks are recommended but not required at the high school.

Saunders, in his note, said that “in-person learning is the best way for our staff to be most effective.”

He encouraged ill students to stay home and rest up.

“We are eager to have our students back when they are feeling better,” he said.


joe.dejka@owh.com, 402-444-1077

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Joe covers education for The World-Herald, focusing on pre-kindergarten through high school. Phone: 402-444-1077.

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