Schools now dealing with flu season in South Canterbury | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #schools


More than 50 students were off sick with the flu at Timaru Boys’ High School on Tuesday.
Sungmi Kim/Stuff

More than 50 students were off sick with the flu at Timaru Boys’ High School on Tuesday.

The flu has taken over where Covid-19 left off among schools across South Canterbury.

On Tuesday South Canterbury Primary Schools Principal Association president and Grantlea Downs School principal Stephen Fennessey said primary schools around the region have seen an increase in flu-related sick days.

“We are certainly seeing large numbers of pupils off sick,” Fennessey said.

“[Tuesday] we have 33 off [at Grantlea Downs] with the flu.”

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Timaru Boys’ High school rector Dave Thorp said while Covid-19 had hit the school hard in the first term, the winter flu effect was now being felt with more than 50 students absent from school on Tuesday due to the flu, four due to Covid-19 and one person isolating due to Covid-19.

“In the first term a lot of the boys got Covid-19, and about half of the teachers,” he said.

“Covid numbers have dropped, and we are coping at the moment with the flu.”

“Last term we saw 10 times the amount of Covid-19 cases, so the peak has definitely dropped for us in terms of Covid, but it is now swapped with the flu.”

South Canterbury Primary schools Principal Association president and Grantlea Downs School principal Stephen Fennessey said schools have turned their attention to managing the flu, but are still keeping an eye on Covid-19 in the school community.
John Bisset/Stuff

South Canterbury Primary schools Principal Association president and Grantlea Downs School principal Stephen Fennessey said schools have turned their attention to managing the flu, but are still keeping an eye on Covid-19 in the school community.

Thorp said, at this stage, the school is managing well with relief teachers, and are not looking at going into rostered days learning from home and school.

Fennessey said he understands a lot of primary schools are continue to feel the pressure of a small amount of relief teachers.

“But we are still surviving.”

Fennessey said if students with the flu are well enough, he wants them at school to avoid days off where possible, as Covid-19 is still in the community.

Timaru Boys' High school principal Dave Thorp says there are more than 50 students off with the flu on Tuesday. (File photo)

Mytchall Bransgrove/Stuff

Timaru Boys’ High school principal Dave Thorp says there are more than 50 students off with the flu on Tuesday. (File photo)

Thorp said they largely use Google Classroom and every lesson is uploaded there to make sure students who are at school or learning from home due to sickness have the same resources.

“We are pretty prepared for a variety of learning options after the past two years.”

Thorp said the varied learning due to Covid-19 has worked well for a lot of students with their results average going up over the past two years.

“If a student isn’t able to come into school or were too sick to work from home, we would work with them when they are well enough to get them back up to speed.”

Aoraki Secondary Principals’ Association chairman and Geraldine High School principal Simon Coleman was unavailable to comment.



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