FLORA, Ind. (WLFI) —The flu is continuing to take a toll on local schools. Several schools were closed Thursday due to the weather, but Carroll Consolidated and Clinton Central School Corporations were closed and will be Friday as well due to what they are calling a widespread flu outbreak. Health professionals say closures due to the flu haven't happened in a while.
"When you reach a certain percent of students who are sick if you continue to allow them to be in the school it will go from 20 percent to 50 then to 70 and so forth,” said Dr. Daniel Wickert the V.P. of Medical Affairs at Franciscan Alliance in Western Indiana. “It can be a larger percentage than originally so they close the schools and encourage people to stay home."
According to the Indiana Department of Education public and accredited nonpublic schools are required to develop a local attendance system for reporting symptoms and health outbreaks. he school nurse is required to report any known or suspected reason for the excessive rate of absenteeism directly to the superintendent or designated administrator.
Clinton Central and Carroll Consolidated schools are both holding e-Learning days for the rest of the wee, due to what they are calling a flu outbreak. Clinton central elementary made the announcement on its Facebook page Wednesday, a decision health professionals say is necessary.
"We are trying to protect the children and we don't want them to unnecessarily have the flu,” said Dr. Daniel Wickert. “They can prevent it by staying home not being together and allowing those individuals to not infect anyone else."
Franciscan Health tracks the number of positive Flu diagnosis at all their local facilities. The graph attached to this article shows the number of cases it has seen in its facilities from November 24th of 2019 to February 1st of 2020. As you can see, the numbers have gradually increased. Which is a trend nationally.
"Nationally we would say there is a higher number of flu cases this year than last year maybe up by as high as 65 percent as the numbers increase," said Dr. Daniel Wickert.
Franciscans expects its Flu numbers to be high at the end of this week too mainly because it is the heart of flu season.
"The worst months will be January and February,” said Dr. Daniel Wickert. “Then, typically and hopefully by the end of February or March we see a gradual decrease again."
As for ways you can prevent yourself from catching the flu Dr. Wickert has some advice.
"It's not too late to get the flu shot,” added Dr. Daniel Wickert. “The other recommendation is to wash your hands, wash your hands, and wash your hands."
In a letter to parents, Carroll Consolidated said its custodians have been cleaning extensively every day and will continue to do so in preparation for return to school on Monday.