Flu Outbreak Closes 2 Texas School Districts for a Week
Bonham ISD and Gunter ISD closed all schools after a high number of students and teachers were experiencing flu-like symptoms.
Two Texas school districts have closed all schools for a week due to high numbers of students and staff experiencing flu-like symptoms.
Bonham ISD, a district northeast of Dallas, closed on Wednesday and will remain closed through next Tuesday, says January 16 post on the district’s Facebook page.
According to the post, the call was made after local health officials recommended closing for a full seven days to stop the spread of the flu.
Superintendent Dr. Marvin Beaty says all Bonham ISD campuses have experienced an increase in the number of confirmed cases of the flu. Of the district’s 1,900 students, 266 were out sick on Tuesday. Twenty-five percent of high school staff were out sick as well, reports WFAA.
“So even if you had kids here, you didn’t have teachers to teach them,” said Beaty. “We just had to stop the cycle.”
Beaty says with the schools being closed, he is concerned with the students who receive free or reduced lunches, the students who don’t have heat at home and the single parents who have to work.
“It’s the unintended consequences that worry me the most. The law of unintended consequences,” he said.
Gunter ISD, located north of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, also announced Wednesday that it would remain closed through next Tuesday after 30 percent of its students were out sick with the flu and other seasonal illnesses, according to Dallas News.
“Flu happens every year, but we’ve never seen anything like this,” said Gunter ISD Superintendent Jill Siler. “Our elementary and middle school campuses have been the hardest hit. Out of the 194 students we had absent today, we have over 140 that were either confirmed flu or sent home with a fever and flu-like symptoms.”
Flu cases doubled over the three-day weekend and one staff member was hospitalized.
District nurse Casey Layman says there were 30 cases of the flu at the elementary school last week, reports Fox News.
“We are seeing both strains of the flu,” said Layman. “We are also seeing strep not associated with the flu.”
All school events have been canceled as well and the district issued a plea to local organizations, such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, to cancel youth activities.
Cleaning crews are scheduled to sanitize all schools and buses later this week. Neither district will have to make up the missed school days.