Flu slams schools, shuttering some

Flu is hitting the country hard, especially in schools. There's no official tally, but there are reports of closures ...

Posted: Jan 27, 2018 8:50 AM
Updated: Jan 27, 2018 8:50 AM

Flu is hitting the country hard, especially in schools. There's no official tally, but there are reports of closures of a day or more in at least a dozen states because so many students and teachers are ill.

At least 37 children have died due to flu-related causes this season, according to the latest numbers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- and agency officials said there are still many more weeks of flu season to come for most of the country.

Schools around the country are closing because children and teachers are sick with flu

Cleaning crews are wiping down hard surfaces to keep the illness from spreading

The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in suburban Chicago is one of them. For the first time in its 30-year history, the Aurora school closed for almost a week due to the flu. On Friday, January 19 there were 25 students who stayed out of class due to flu-like symptoms. By Monday, 88 students were sick and 23% of the faculty were sick with flu-like symptoms, too. Since the school is a residential campus for 10th, 11th and 12th graders, and since the illness spread so rapidly, school officials decided to close its campus, under advisement of the local hospital and health department. The students, who come from counties all over the state, were sent home as a preventive measure. Classes are expected to start again on January 29.

"We all wanted to nip this in the bud before it got worse," said Tami Armstrong, the school's director of public affairs. The cleaning crew, however, did not get the week off. In fact, they got extra work, having to wipe down all the hard surfaces in the dorms and academic buildings to prevent further spread of the flu.

The Illinois school is not alone.

In Port St. Joe, Florida, Gulf District Schools Superintendent Jim Norton told CNN the district decided to close school Friday after more than one-quarter of its 1,900 students and one-third of the 150 teachers called out sick this week due to the flu. The schools are scheduled to reopen next week. The announcement on the closing said buildings will be cleaned and sanitized Friday and sick students will be given a change to recover.

Similarly ,the Russellville School District in Arkansas closed all of its 10 schools Friday January 19 "due to the high number of students experiencing flu-like symptoms." Students were back in class on Monday January 22.

In Oklahoma, the Hugo schools were also closed for a couple of days due to the flu. The district's website said that the schools would be sanitized to keep the flu from spreading. It also offered parents advice on when to know if students were too sick to go to school. A flyer from the Oklahoma Department of Health suggested children might be too sick for school if they have fever, diarrhea or vomiting, rash, cough or sore throat or "other conditions" and advised parents to talk to the school nurse or administrators about exclusion policies for these or other illnesses.

In the state of Texas, officials encouraged "anyone with symptoms to stay home and to see their health care provider, as antiviral medications may shorten the duration of their illness." Amid an outbreak in San Antonio, one school took that advice and closed for a "flu day" a couple of weeks ago.

In Michigan, the Kalamazoo Public Schools website said while most schools were below the health department's 20% flu-related absentee level for closure, "as a precaution, all KPS schools will be cleaned and disinfected over the upcoming weekend." Elsehwere in the state on Friday, all Gull Lake Community Schools in Richland were closed "due to high illness rates." Activities were canceled, and staff were told not to report, according to the schools' website.

In Alabama, where the Governor declared a state of emergency on January 11 due to the current flu outbreak, some schools have also been closed including in Huntsville. State health officials asked schools and businesses to consider waiving sick policies.

With the pressures to get all the lessons in, a decision to close a school is never easy, but school officials think caution is key when it comes to preventing additional children from getting sick.

"If we hadn't closed when we did, I wouldn't have wanted to be having a conversation with anyone about why more kids were sick and we didn't do our best to keep students safe," said Armstrong of Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. "Their health and well-being is our number one priority."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 60898

Reported Deaths: 1698
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin19271835
Ramsey7572265
Dakota4414106
Anoka3683114
Stearns289320
Washington212845
Nobles17646
Olmsted173223
Scott155919
Mower11012
Rice10328
Blue Earth9185
Wright8845
Carver8613
Clay78440
Sherburne7238
Kandiyohi6961
St. Louis55319
Todd4262
Lyon4253
Freeborn3591
Steele3482
Nicollet33713
Benton3203
Watonwan3080
Winona26116
Beltrami2400
Crow Wing23514
Le Sueur2201
Martin2075
Chisago2011
Goodhue1969
Otter Tail1943
McLeod1810
Cottonwood1780
Becker1571
Pipestone1579
Polk1534
Waseca1480
Itasca14712
Douglas1441
Carlton1370
Unassigned13441
Pine1290
Dodge1270
Isanti1250
Murray1221
Chippewa1041
Morrison921
Wabasha920
Brown892
Faribault870
Jackson860
Meeker852
Rock850
Sibley832
Koochiching773
Pennington751
Cass722
Mille Lacs713
Renville645
Fillmore630
Lincoln580
Grant553
Swift531
Roseau520
Yellow Medicine520
Pope480
Houston420
Aitkin401
Norman400
Kanabec361
Redwood360
Wilkin343
Hubbard330
Marshall290
Mahnomen271
Wadena270
Red Lake240
Big Stone220
Lake210
Stevens180
Clearwater140
Traverse110
Lac qui Parle70
Cook50
Kittson30
Lake of the Woods20

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48781

Reported Deaths: 929
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10309207
Woodbury371952
Black Hawk312766
Linn237588
Johnson209619
Dallas188535
Buena Vista179412
Scott171814
Dubuque167631
Marshall144426
Pottawattamie132526
Story116614
Wapello90033
Muscatine84748
Webster8017
Crawford7283
Sioux6343
Cerro Gordo62517
Warren5641
Tama55129
Jasper47826
Wright4721
Plymouth4629
Clinton3973
Dickinson3814
Louisa37814
Washington29810
Boone2583
Hamilton2461
Franklin24110
Bremer2267
Clarke2013
Carroll1921
Emmet1924
Clay1901
Shelby1841
Hardin1810
Des Moines1792
Marion1730
Poweshiek1598
Benton1561
Jackson1561
Allamakee1554
Floyd1552
Mahaska13917
Cedar1331
Guthrie1325
Jones1302
Buchanan1271
Henry1254
Hancock1222
Butler1212
Madison1212
Pocahontas1152
Lee1143
Lyon1132
Delaware1121
Humboldt1111
Cherokee1081
Harrison1071
Clayton1043
Taylor980
Iowa971
Winneshiek971
Page940
Kossuth910
Monona910
Mills890
Sac850
Jefferson840
Palo Alto840
Winnebago840
Calhoun832
Osceola830
Fayette820
Grundy791
Mitchell780
Union771
Cass741
Monroe737
Lucas684
Worth660
Montgomery594
Davis572
Chickasaw540
Appanoose493
Howard490
Fremont420
Greene410
Van Buren371
Keokuk351
Adair300
Ida290
Audubon281
Decatur230
Ringgold221
Wayne191
Adams160
Unassigned60
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