Hammond elementary had an unusual number of students absent due to illness this week. (Contributed)

Quarter of students were away sick at Hammond elementary

Students and teachers at Maple Ridge school away with colds, flu.

Almost a quarter of the students at Hammond elementary in Maple Ridge were sick and absent from school earlier this week.

On Monday, 95 children called in sick, about three or more per class, or about a quarter of the school population of 382.

Seven staff were off sick the same day, according to reports.

On Tuesady, 69 students were away, and fewer than 50 on Wednesday, when five staff were absent.

Other local schools may be affected, too.

Baubie Cumiford wrote on Facebook that her son was home sick again Wednesday.

“He said his classes were all half empty yesterday, that he had never seen that many kids away,” at Westview secondary in Maple Ridge.

Pam McCotter wrote that his had two teens sick with a “nasty bug” last week.

“It’s death. Day 3 on couch.”

Irena Pochop, with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district, said some students at Hammond have colds, while others have flu, and the illnesses are affecting multiple classrooms.

“It wasn’t any one ailment in particular.”

She confirmed the school, in west Maple Ridge, received an enhanced cleaning when the number of absences began to rise at an unusual rate last week.

It got more Monday and Tuesday, with janitorial staff disinfecting door handles, light switches and arm chair rests.

“With enhanced cleaning, a second custodian is sent to the school to focus on the disinfection of high touch points.”

Pochop reminded parents to keep their kids at home when they are sick, for their comfort and the protection of all the other students.

“This is the time of the year when we see a spike in student absences for illness related reasons,” she said.

Another local school, similar in size to Hammond, had 50 students absent Monday, while another had 30.

“These numbers are not unusual for this time of the year,” Pochop said.

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