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Flu bug up against it in Chatham County Schools
Published Friday, February 9, 2018
by John McCann, Special To The Tribune

PITTSBORO — Chatham County Schools (CCS) is taking a proactive approach to counter the particularly rough flu season that is impacting the country.

Surfaces in the district’s schools from desktops to doorknobs, cafeteria tables and even light switches will receive daily cleanings in order to reduce germs, CCS Chief Operations Officer Chris D. Blice said. Those surfaces will be cleaned with appropriate, properly mixed agents that both sanitize and disinfect, and those solutions will be allowed to sit and do their work as opposed to immediately wiping them after spraying, he said.

Water fountains in elementary schools, especially, are potential carriers for germs because some students put their hands and mouths on the spigots.

“We’ve sent quite a few kids home, so we have seen a rise in flu cases,” Pittsboro Elementary School principal Chris Poston said. “We have staff members who are never sick who have just been, kind of, tackled by this flu season.”

Tracy Fowler is the district’s executive director for student services and support programs. She oversees the nurses who work in the school system. There have been confirmed flu cases in some of the district’s schools, and that reflects both teachers and students, she said. It’ll take a collective effort from both school personnel and parents to fight the flu.

The flu bug has put Poston in a precarious place. He has three children in CCS, plus his wife is the assistant principal at Siler City Elementary. So he’s staving off flu viruses both at school and at home. His war on germs seemingly never ends.  

“As a dad and a principal, it’s just a reminder of, ‘Hey, boys and girls, teachers, staff, wash your hands. Sanitize, wipe down all solid surfaces.’ I think that’s just our big takeaway just being in the middle of this flu season, just reminding boys and girls to practice just good handwashing habits — make that a habit,” Poston said.

It’s extremely important for parents and guardians to monitor their students for flu-like symptoms, he continued. “Make sure they’re fever-free for 24 hours before sending them back to school, because it’s so contagious,” Poston said.

On a single day last week at Pittsboro Elementary, roughly 10 staff members stayed away from school because either they or their children were sick, Poston said.

“I’ve been really fortunate this year and over the past couple of years that I haven’t been affected by the flu,” Poston said. “I consider myself blessed to be able to go to work every day and to be healthy.”


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