The school bus was eerily empty this morning. I like to think that it’s because everyone decided to drive their kids to school this morning during the thunderstorm, but I know better. It’s because we’re all playing a new game: “Are You Sicker than a 5th Grader?”
With 20% of kids out sick from school yesterday, I can only imagine that after a weekend of soccer and baseball games, barbecues, birthday parties and picnics, that number has risen today. Take your pick:
Behind Door #1 is strep throat.
Behind Door #2 is a mysterious high fever with few other symptoms.
Behind Door #3 is Swine Flu. Yes, that Swine Flu, which is why I’ve used capital letters for it. It seems appropriate given the look of panic it creates on many a parent’s face.
Only the school’s web site assures frantic parents that it’s “mild in nature.” I know of at least three kids who have tested positive with influenza, some of it H1N1 (aka Swine Flu), and their symptoms aren’t too bad. It’s the 7-day quarantine at home that’s driving them — and their parents — crazy.
It’s one thing to miss out on a week of school in the dead of winter, when the teacher is droning on about quadrangles and run-on sentences and it’s sleeting outside, and quite another at the end of the school year when there are gorgeous days filled with water balloon fights, class trips and yet another parent showing up at school with all the fixings for ice cream sundaes.
I heard a rumor at the bus stop today (by the only other parent who was standing in the pouring rain with me) that they’ll close the school if we get to a 33% absentee rate. And then, I suppose, that they’ll make up those days in — dare I say — July.
I’m going to stock up on water balloons and ice cream sundae fixings, just in case.