Another school in Iowa’s watching to see if whooping cough will close its doors. Albia community school district superintendent Kevin Crall says two kids have been confirmed with the disease. Part of the dilemma over closing schools is the length of time between when a kid’s exposed and when the disease appears. The incubation period can be from four to 21 days, so shutting down school for a day or two is no guarantee you’ll stop the illness — and while he’s heard you can pretty well eliminate the disease by closing school for 42 days, that’s just not an option. With two cases, so far it’s not a real outbreak of disease, but the superintendent says all families have been notified. He says they’re staying on top of it, educating parents on the symptoms and conditions so they can make good decisions for their kids. In cases where students have been in close proximity to a kid confirmed with the disease, they not only send home a letter but call to tell parents their child has been exposed to the illness, since “that kind of ups the ante a little bit as far as they’re concerned.” Crall says his district’s been lucky not to experience the kind of outbreak that empties all the desks. Every winter during flu season they see attendance drop a bit, but have never had such a high percentage of students out that they have to consider canceling classes. Crall says the bottom line is being pro-active and letting parents know the administration is aware of the threat of disease and is taking steps to prevent it becoming a problem. There are about 1,300 kids in the Albia school district , in Monroe County in south-central Iowa.
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