Students have been told to stay away from school if they are sick to stop schools becoming a ‘‘breeding ground’’ for influenza.
The Australian Medical Association president Dr Richard Choong issued the warning earlier this week, saying the flu had affected thousands of people and was ‘‘extremely serious’’.
Carey Park Primary School principal Peter Rigden supported the call after nearly 40 per cent of his students missed school towards the end of last school term because of the flu.
‘‘We have certainly had a number of students and teachers affected,’’ he said.
‘‘This has been a message we have been putting out for many years.
‘‘We of course want students to attend school every day and arrive on time but when they’re sick they should stay at home.’’
There have been almost 2000 reported cases of the infection Statewide and eight deaths.
Dr Choong said the AMA would like to see hand sanitisers in classrooms to further prevent the flu from spreading.
‘‘Schools can be breeding grounds for infections and influenza can spread like wildfire,’’ he said.
‘‘As a parent in a two-job family, I know how difficult it will be for some parents to keep a sick child at home — but sending them to school will guarantee a further fuelling of the epidemic.
‘‘We cannot play Russian roulette here.’’
Education Department South West acting regional executive director Charlie Serravite said schools received fundingto provide soap and other hand washing products to students.
‘‘Schools also teach students about personal hygiene such as disposing of tissues and cleaning hands after coughing or sneezing, which is particularly important during the influenza season,’’ he said.
‘‘These types of decisions are made by senior school staff who use their vast experience and common sense in these matters.’’
Bunbury Senior High School principal Craige Pettit said hand hygiene was of the upmost importance.
‘‘In reality those who come to school just pass it along,’’ he said.
‘‘Saying that, we do encourage hand hygiene at the school to minimise the effect of the flu and encourage students with symptoms to stay home.’’