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Perham enrollment better than expected

PERHAM -- Enrollment in the Perham-Dent School District is ahead of projections.

And, school officials are doing everything they can to stay ahead of the flu--including lessons on how to sneeze.

With one week into the 2009-10 school year, there were 1,409 students.

"We were predicting as low as 1,370, so that's very good," said Perham Superintendent Tamara Uselman. "If it stabilizes at about 1,409, that will be really good news."

Another good indicator is that enrollment is up from the end of last year. There were 1,406 students in May of 2009.

The message to sick kids and their families: Stay home.

"We're watching the flu situation very carefully," said Uselman. "We're sanitizing computer keyboards, using disinfectant, washing hands before lunch, and we're having students wash their hands as a group," said Uselman. "We're even modeling the proper way to sneeze into a tissue."

Sick kids must stay at home--or go home if they get sick at school.

"We used to be more flexible, sometimes letting sick kids stay until the end of the day," said Uselman. "But we have no choice now--we have to send them home."

One teacher was diagnosed with the H1N1 virus--but stayed home from work. According to Uselman, the teacher was at the Minnesota State Fair, where there was a flu outbreak, and became very sick prior to school starting.