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Students falling victim to flu bug

By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP – Managing Editor
There have been a lot of empty desks at local schools the past few weeks as students have fallen victim to the flu and other illnesses.
On Tuesday, local schools saw a large number of names on the list of absent students. It seems the illness is especially targeting younger children. Brewton Elementary saw the highest number of absences on Tuesday. Of 531 total students, 80 were not at school Tuesday.
As for percentage of students, W.S. Neal Middle School had 64 of its 436 students absent on Tuesday. An additional 15 students left school early. W.S. Neal High School reported 25 of 353 students absent, W.S. Neal Elementary had 59 of 529 students absent.
T.R. Miller High School reported 40 students absent of its 364 total and Brewton Middle School had 25 students absent from its total of 439. The middle school hit its peak last week when it reported 78 absences.
Joy Howard, an office worker at W.S. Neal Middle School said most students are suffering from flu-like symptoms. She said those that left school early on Tuesday had similar problems.
Howard added that two students from Neal Middle School have been hospitalized - one with the flu and another with pneumonia. She said the average amount of time that students are missing has varied.
School officials are encouraging students to wash their hands regularly while teachers and office personnel are encouraged to keep their settings as clean as possible.
Schools are not the only ones being affected by the recent onslaught of illness. Pharmacies are also busy. Danny Cottrell at Medical Center Pharmacy said they have had a lot of prescriptions to fill in recent weeks for both students and adults.