By Boyd C. Allen

Pilot Staff Writer

Gold Beach High School Principal Tim Wilson ran into his meeting a couple minutes late Wednesday because he was substituting for two absent teachers.

Wilson said he was teaching choir and advanced math for the day.

Riley Creek Elementary School Principal Tom Denning said he went to work Friday even though he was still recovering from the flu.

According to Wilson, Riley Creek was down 10 teachers at certain points last week. The school only employs 19 teachers.

Denning said, “I was probably one of the 10.”

On Friday, Denning said a combination of 10 teachers or other staff were out again, but he was able to cover most of the teachers with substitutes. Classes without coverage were staffed by teachers rotating in on their planning periods.

“We have a nice group of retired teachers who sub, so we don’t lose much,” he said.

According to Denning, absent paraprofessionals, who do everything from helping with lunch to leading reading groups, were missed because there are no substitutes for them.

Staff and students have experienced nausea, vomiting and fevers during their bouts of influenza, Denning said. But he noted no study had been done to officially declare a flu outbreak.

According to the Riley Creek school office, weekly student absences usually run about 5 to 6 percent of the population but were at 15 percent this week.

The most intense nationwide flu outbreak in a decade appears to be losing some steam but has killed another 17 children, bringing the total to 114, federal health officials reported Friday.

The Center for Disease Control said the flu remained widespread in 45 states in the last full week of February.

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