Jackson County Health and Human Services stopped requiring local schools to track absences due to H1N1 symptoms this week because the number of flu cases has decreased substantially.

Jackson County Health and Human Services stopped requiring local schools to track absences due to H1N1 symptoms this week because the number of flu cases has decreased substantially.

Ashland School District is continuing to monitor absences anecdotally, but is no longer releasing weekly reports on the number of absences due to flu symptoms, said Samuel Bogdanove, the district's director of student services.

"If we see numbers increase dramatically, we will contact the department of health at that time for guidance," he said Monday in an e-mail message.

The number of H1N1-related absences in the district peaked in the seven days ending Oct. 15, when 386 students were absent with flu symptoms.

Since then, the number of absences due to flu symptoms has substantially decreased. In the seven days ending Nov. 5, the last date the district released a report, 117 students were absent with H1N1 symptoms.

If the virus begins to spread more rapidly, it's likely county health officials will ask schools to start recording flu-specific absences again.

"We could see another wave of illness which may result in the need to track again in the future," said Scott Perry, superintendent of the Southern Oregon Education Service District.