Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs Middle School got an attendance boost Thursday.
Only 94 students were absent Thursday, a significant decrease from the absence rates earlier in the week. Although that number represents 19 percent of the student body, there were far fewer absences Thursday than the 131 students who missed school Wednesday and the 151 who were out sick Tuesday. On Monday, 133 students were home sick.
But it wasn't all good news. Principal Tim Bishop was out sick Thursday. He was the only middle school faculty member to be absent.
Dot Haberlan, of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, said students continue to miss school with a variety of illnesses, including flu, strep throat, stomach viruses, sinus infections and head and chest colds.
She said 7 percent of students at Soda Creek and Strawberry Park elementary schools were home sick Thursday and that about 3 percent of students at Steamboat Springs High School were absent.
Only one staff member at Soda Creek and two at Strawberry Park were out sick Thursday, and two staff members at the high school stayed home with sick children.
Superintendent Shalee Cunningham confirmed that she and Haberlan would meet this morning with Jim Johnsen, the VNA's emergency preparedness and response coordinator, to discuss this week's middle school absences.
Cunningham said the district still is focusing on prevention. That includes encouraging students and staff to wash their hands frequently and use hand sanitizer. The middle school also has taken measures to prevent the spread of germs, such as frequently disinfecting doorknobs and hand railings.
Health officials urge parents to keep sick children home at least 24 hours after their fever is gone.