Madison schools have seen a slightly higher than normal rate of absenteeism for this time of year, but it's nothing alarming, says district spokesman Ken Syke.
For a couple of weeks in October, the rate was about 8% to 9%, compared to the usual average of 4% to 5%. The school district doesn't categorize absentees, so it's hard to pinpoint why the rate has climbed. But Syke says there has been a "flu-like" illness going around, adding: "A lot of people don't know if they have the swine flu or not because it's not officially diagnosed."
Last week, the absentee rate dropped closer to normal levels, Syke says. "This is where it is today, Nov. 9," he says. "If you call me back in a week, who knows where it's going to be."