School districts across the Tri-State close temporarily due to flu outbreak

POSEY COUNTY, Ind. (WEHT) – You can now add Henderson, McLean, and Pike County to the list of school districts feeling the impact of the flu.

While Posey County will be out Thursday, Henderson County will not have class after today.

As we first reported Tuesday, Posey County school officials are closing the district for two days due to a flu outbreak, with the number of reported absences doubling overnight.

“Normally during flu season, we do not reach this type of absences,” says Posey County Assistant Superintendent Dr. Angela Bender.

Over the last 72 hours, North Posey school officials have been tracking the number of student absences due to the flu.

Within 24 hours, the number of students district-wide out with illnesses jumped from 12% to 29%.

“It’s Indiana code that once it reaches a 20 percent rate of absenteeism that you report it to the state and also to your local health officials,” says Dr. Bender.

North Elementary had one of the highest jumps in absentees from 11% to 34%.

“It definitely was a lot of traffic there’s only so much room in the nurse’s office, ” says North Elementary Principal Shannon MacMunn.

This left school officials with no choice but to take precaution and cancel classes for the rest of the week after consulting with state health officials.

“I was glad because we need some time not only to really really clean the buildings but also just for everything to die down for the students that have been affected and the staff that’s been affected to have some time to recoup,” says MacMunn.

“We’re hoping that on Monday with the building sanitized and our students and staff that are infected that they will be symptomatic free on Monday and well have a much healthier learning environment for the students.”

Although no classes will be in session in North Posey, students won’t be off the hook for homework.

“Absolutely we are implementing e-learning our virtual learning days. Students k- 12 have Chromebook so the students have prepared modules for them to work out during the break.”

Bender says that the increase in students out today also includes healthy students who opted out of class today.

In addition to Henderson County, Pike County and McLean County also canceled class for Thursday.

Pike County was already scheduled to be out Friday.

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(This story was originally published on January 29, 2019)

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