Call to keep ill pupils at home

Pupils at Grey Junior School are being encouraged to stay home as 25% of pupils and 20% of staff are ill
Pupils at Grey Junior School are being encouraged to stay home as 25% of pupils and 20% of staff are ill

In an unusual move, Grey Junior School on Monday urged parents to keep their boys at home after a nasty wave of illness hit the school.

With about 25% of the boys at the prestigious Mill Park school ill and 20% of the staff also feeling off colour, it was decided a few days of rest and recuperation might be in order.

School principal Lindsay Pearson, however, fobbed off some media claims that the school had been forced to shut down due to ill health, saying while they had asked parents to keep the children at home where possible, it would be business as usual for those with no alternative.

In a letter, sent on Monday, Pearson wrote: “We have had a major outbreak of what appears to be Influenza A among the boys and staff.

“We have decided to initiate an unusual request of our parents, and that is to keep their sons at home for the next two days [Tuesday and Wednesday] if they are able to do so.”

He said all school-related activities including band practice, music and sports matches would be cancelled.

“I hope that all will be back to normal on Thursday, 30 May, for the start of the examinations for the grade 6s and 7s.

“Parents who cannot do this, and whose sons are well, are welcome to send them to school as usual,” he said.

“Please boost your son’s immune system as much as possible!”

Pearson said he thought it was best for those who could to rest up and avoid contact with others.

Asked why the school had thought the illness was Influenza A, Pearson said after consultation with various health practitioners, the school was advised that the outbreak was the Influenza A virus.

Health department spokesperson Siyanda Manana said the department would visit the school to find out more.

“We have just become aware of the situation at Grey Junior,” he said.

“We are going to visit the school tomorrow [Tuesday] through the Integrated School Health programme.”