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Flu Outbreak Hits Central Texas Children
The flu is running rampant in one local school district. "I heard there was 86 kids out yesterday and 15 out today," said Earl Fredley. Parents showed up to Faubion Elementary School in Cedar Park to pick up their sick children. Close to 400 kids are absent in the Leander Independent School District.
Some of them are home sick with the flu. Schools hit hard by the flu are tackling the problem head on, calling in custodians to give the buildings, cafeteria and classroom a deep cleaning. But many kids are picking up the virus -- in hard to clean places -- like public playgrounds.
Piper Bear is coming out of hibernation. "My stomach was hurting often," said Bear. The second grader is just getting over the flu.
"What was I like daddy? You were sick baby. But why couldn't I get around people? You were contagious. Yeah, I was contagious for like 2 days," said daughter and papa Bear.
Bear is one of 387 Leander I.S.D. students who have been out sick over the past week.
"That's definitely a high number," said District Spokeswoman Veronica Sopher.
Sopher says it's hard to pin point the exact illness -- but admits -- the flu is partly to blame.
"We've had the flu, flu-like symptoms," added Sopher.
Sopher says all schools have posters reminding students to wash their hands, cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, and to never share food with other students.
But clearly that's not doing the trick.
Steve Howard rushed to Faubion Elementary School to pick up his sick grandson.
"My daughter said it was the flu. I'm just picking him up today," said Howard.
Some parents are peeved the school district hasn't called to inform them of the number of flu cases.
"It was a little offsetting that we nothing about it that there could be an outbreak of flu in the school," said Fredley.
Sopher claims there's currently no cause for commotion.
"Our numbers are seasonal," added Sopher.
And for parents like Piper's dad, getting the flu is simply part of growing up.
"Kids get sick. It's how they develop their immune systems," said Bear.
All Texas public schools receive state funding based on their attendance. So having a ton of kids absent can affect how much money a school gets. But in cases like this, where students are legitimately out sick, the district can apply for a waiver.
By Alex Boyer