KELLOGG, Idaho - An aggressive flu outbreak shut down an entire North Idaho school district this week. Now, crews are working to disinfect all four schools in the district, along with all the buses, before class resumes next week.
Janitorial staff will have to clean thousands of square feet and every surface students and teachers have touched. Superintendent William "Woody" Woodford said the outbreak spiked Monday when about 120 kids out of approximately 430 enrolled at Pinehurst Elementary were out sick with the flu Monday.
"Take it seriously..because this is a particularly tough virus," Woodford said.
Tough enough to spread across four schools, making about 300 kids sick, 28% of the district students, according to Woodford. He said at one point this week, 23% of staff were sick with the flu, too. By Tuesday, school leaders knew they had to do something. So, they followed local health guidelines to postpone the rest of the week's activities and cancel classes. Woodford said school will resume on a normal schedule Monday, January 15. Until then, he requests parents keep an eye on how their kids are feeling and keep them home if they are sick.
"I would strongly suggest that parents monitor their children's health, that their kids get plenty of rest and that they drink plenty of fluids," Woodford said.
Meantime, district leaders will continue to monitor the outbreak and respond accordingly. Complete sanitization is expected to be finished by this weekend, according to Woodford.
He said the district will find a way to make up for the missed school time by adjusting schedules or appealing to the state to change some scheduled snow days. Those decisions have not been made yet.
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