25 percent of Uintah High School students out sick; Flu?

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VERNAL -- All after-school sports and extra-curricular activities at Uintah High School were canceled Friday after hundreds of students called in sick this week.

More than 1,100 students attend Uintah High School in Vernal. The past two days, almost a quarter of them have stayed home sick.

Junior Taren McNamara said he has several friends who have stayed home with flu-like symptoms and everyone in school is wondering what's going on.

"Everybody is sitting around there coughing, and you definitely tell that people are sick," said sophomore Mookie Harris.

Principal Julie Wilde said, "We're just basically telling kids, ‘If you're sick, stay home.'"

Wilde decided to cancel after-school activities, including Friday night's football game, just to try and keep whatever is spreading from spreading.

"We've done a pretty good job of spreading this within our own community here, and we feel like we want to protect others visiting here, or other places where we would be visiting," Wilde said.

This past Tuesday, 144 students stayed home sick; 192 stayed home on Wednesday. On Thursday, 245 students called in sick, and on Friday 225 were sick. Jamie Whiting's son was one of them.

"He's got all the symptoms a friend of ours had, who went to the doctor and has the flu," Whiting said.

Parents KSL News spoke with said the school is doing the right thing.

"I think the school is doing a good job," Julie Harris said. "We're sad they canceled the sports, because my kids play and they'd love to be there, but I think it's better to be safe than sorry."

Some students said they just hope those who are staying home are really sick and not taking advantage of the situation.

"There are people who are actually sick, and then there are those who are just making an excuse to skip school," said student Tayla Harris.

School administrators will see how everyone is doing on Monday before deciding on whether to continue after school activities and sports.

It's not known if this particular bug is the swine flu. Tests have not come back to confirm H1N1.


Story compiled with contributions from Alex Cabrero and Adam Thomas.

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