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Schools close through weekend due to flu outbreak

Several schools across the News 18 viewing area are closed Thursday and Friday due to a large flu outbreak in their buildings.

Posted: Jan 23, 2020 12:48 PM
Updated: Jan 24, 2020 5:51 AM

OTTERBEIN, Ind. (WLFI) — Several schools across the News 18 viewing area are closed Thursday and Friday due to a large flu outbreak in their buildings.

In the Benton Community School Corporation, students were dismissed early Thursday from Otterbein Elementary. Superintendent Gregg Hoover says more than 20% of the school has come down with the flu. A deep cleaning will happen this weekend, according to Hoover. The school will re-open Monday, if health officials give the clearance. The rest of the corporation still will attend school. 

Flu Vaccine

The entire Rensselaer Central School Corporation is also closed Thursday and Friday due to a large outbreak. On its Facebook page, the corporation said the high school had more than 17% of students sick. The middle school had a 22% absence. The corporation will operate under an e-learning day. 

St. Augustine Catholic School in Rensselaer is also closed Thursday and Friday and will have an e-learning day. 

Indiana law requires schools to report absences over 20% to the state health department. Administrators are encouraging parents to keep children home until they are fever-free for 24 hours. 

Purdue Associate Professor of Nursing Libby Richards says when flu shots aren't effective, it's important to fall back on good old fashioned preventative measures.

"Proper handwashing is very important, in addition to avoiding crowds when you suspect someone might be sick, not touching your eyes, nose, mouth," listed Richards.

Even when the flu vaccine isn't totally effective, health experts still say it's your best chance of staving off the flu. They say it's not to late in the season to get it.

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