Elm Tree Elementary School Sees Rise in Absences

Fox 24

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KFTA)– The Bentonville School District becomes the latest to see a high number of student absences due to illness.

Elm Tree Elementary School reported 20 percent of its students were absent Monday, and 18 percent were gone Wednesday.

Leslee Wright of the Bentonville School District said not all of the empty seats are due to sickness, but a majority of them are because of the flu or strep.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Danielle DeHanes, a local mom.

In two weeks, multiple schools have seen kids missing from their hallways due to illness.

DeHanes said, “Out of three weeks my daughter has been out sick for a full two weeks.”

Danielle DeHanes said her daughter, Liberty, has a low immune system and is allergic to the flu shot, making her a perfect target to catch a sickness at Elm Tree.

“I’m stuck in a catch 22,” she said. 

Just Wednesday the Pea Ridge School District said 20 percent of its students were gone due to the flu and other illnesses.

Dr. Randy Conover of Northwest Family Medicine said, “Flu A has just gone crazy.”

Dr. Randy Conover is just down the street from Elm Tree Elementary.

He said  this flu season has been more mild than the last, but this year he’s an increase of kids. 

“I have children from Pea Ridge, Bentonville, Bentonville West, Decatur [and] Gravette schools,” he said. 

With a one-year-old on her hip and her grandparents in her home, DeHanes said her family can’t afford to get sick.

“Somebody in a fragile condition like that whether you’re a premi, or you’re elderly, you can kill them,” she said. 

Doctor Randy Conover said one group is not more susceptible to sickness than other, but he is seeing a trend.

“It’s just more prevalent with the teenagers this year than it has in the past,” he said.

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