BY JASON THOMPSON
Nearly a third of the student population at Copper Cliff Public School was absent from class late last week, as children fell victim to coughing, sore throats, upset stomachs and other cold symptoms.
Veda Hanninen, the school principal, said that 66 of the 242 children were away or left school early Thursday due to illness, adding these children represent 46 families. By Friday, 70 children were absent from the school.
According to Ed Gardner, manager of environmental health at the Sudbury and District Health Unit, the Copper Cliff incident is not unusual and is in fact a matter of coincidence.
"This is not an unusual event," Gardner said. "It appears from the data that we've gathered that it's more likely a aggregate of colds and perhaps a stomach virus that's circulating throughout the community."
"They're a snapshot of what's going on in our northern communities and you have very captive audience in schools so these things tend to spread very quickly," Gardner said.
"We don't think there's anything alarming here, we're doing the best we can to be sure that we do the things we know we can do to try and control this," said Hanninen.
Both Gardner and Hanninen are encouraging parents to keep their children at home if they're ill and to wait until they're completely healthy before sending them back to class.
At the schools' request, health unit staff paid a visit to Copper Cliff Public School Friday, to offer an enhanced hand-washing demonstration to the students.