Friday, January 11, 2013

Three days away from the petri dish

Normally when I look at the school calendar and realize how many days off the girls have I sigh. Loudly. Often with frustration. I don't think they have a full month of school from start to finish in any given year.

This January I see three days off -- after they return from winter break. If I could I'd add a day or two in there. That's how much this flu outbreak concerns me.

I admit that I haven't been paying much attention until recently. For the past week news reports have been warning of an outbreak -- a really nasty, dangerous outbreak. Since then I've heard numerous stories about how bad the flu outbreak really is across the country. 

A friend told me her father's nursing home requires everyone to wear a mask and gloves. Another person told me that local schools are preparing to deep clean more often to kill the germs. I've heard about schools sending emails to parents reminding them to keep their sick kids at home.

It all adds up to a strong desire to keep the girls away from the school. I realize they can end up with the flu virus any time they are in public. The reality is schools are major league petri dishes. Before Thanksgiving a nasty stomach bug was going around. At one point nearly one-third of the kids were at home sick in each girls' class. 

The last time I remember hearing so much about the flu was the year the girls were born. It was so severe that a record number of people died. Our girls were so little that we didn't want to expose them to the germs. I think we only left the house because we had to for January and February that year.

This year we don't have that option. I'm happy they have three days off school so the germs have time to die before they spread. I don't want them to be home from school, but I'm happy for the time they will spend away from the petri dish.

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