Flu Forces School District to Close Early for Christmas

December 22, 2014
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor

A school system in Atlanta, Georgia, was forced to close down early for winter break after the flu infected too many students.

A school system in Atlanta, Georgia, was forced to close down early for winter break after the flu infected too many students.

The call was made by Polk County School Superintendent William Hunter, who told 11Alive that he thought it was necessary to close the district’s 10 schools to prevent further infection, after a large number of students and teachers called out sick.

The schools closed on December 17, 2014, which has added 2 extra days to the school system’s 2-week Christmas break.

Hunter said some parents were planning on not sending their children to school for the rest of the week in order to prevent them from getting sick right before the holidays, according to 11Alive.

Of 7800 students, nearly 17% were home sick with the flu, 11Alive reported. Teachers were hit nearly just as hard, as 78 of the 500 in the district were home sick with the flu.

The state’s Department of Public Health (DPH) has reminded residents that a flu shot can still be beneficial this year in preventing the illness, 11Alive reported. While this year’s flu shot is not an exact match, the DPH said it can help residents recuperate faster and lessen the severity of the flu.

A pharmacist in the area, who also has a child in the district, said that demand for Tamiflu is high at her pharmacy.

“We dispense upwards of 20 to 30 doses per day, if not more. And that is a lot in our pharmacy,” she told 11Alive.

She maintained hope that the flu would die down over the Christmas break due to less contact between students.

Hunter said students would be able to make up the 2 days using online resources, according to 11Alive.