Mayflower School District closes due to flu

Mayflower Public Schools will be closed Thursday and Friday due to influenza numbers within the district.

The Log Cabin Democrat spoke with Superintendent John Gray on Wednesday.

He said they have about 1,000 students within the district and had 140 kids out on Wednesday, absences increasing each day.

“This flu is having far more of an effect,” Gray said.

Mayflower’s solution?

Close down Thursday and Friday as AMI Days and continue to disinfect the buildings and buses.

“That’ll give us the weekend,” Gray said. “Four days should be the number of days we need to break the [flu] cycle.”

He said apart from students, teachers are also coming down with the sickness with about six educators out on Wednesday.

While they’re managing to keep it staffed, it has affected the campuses.

“That is a concern,” Gray said.

The superintendent strongly recommended that students do not come to school if they’re sick and/or have a fever.

“We don’t want people here that are sick,” Gray stressed.

The LCD asked him if that was occurring often.

Gray said he doesn’t have numbers, for example, students coming and going to the nurse’s office perhaps, leaving school sick, but he was aware that it was happening.

Mayflower School District held flu clinics at the school this year, completely voluntary, he said, and about half the kids chose to get vaccinated.

“That really does help a lot but doesn’t eliminate it,” Gray said.

The LCD has been following the influenza season across the state.

Since Sept. 29, 2019, the Arkansas Department of Health has received 16,900 positive influenza test reports, though officials warn that those reported cases only reflect a portion of the state’s actual numbers seeing as some don’t seek medical treatment.

2019-20 Flu Season:

Every year the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends viruses that should be targeted in the flu vaccine. This year, WHO officials called for the common virus strain, or Influenza A, which has been the dominant flu strain for 27 years in the U.S. but Influenza B seems to be the strain wreaking havoc this flu season, according to the CDC.

“Influenza B virus infection is more common among children and can cause complications, resulting in hospitalization or death,” CDC officials said.

Cumulative data from the CDC’s public health laboratories show 58 percent of people who tested for the flu have received positive results for influenza B, with only 42 percent testing positive for influenza A.

Despite, the CDC and other health officials are still encouraging the public to get that flu shot and abide by the usual advice: get the shot, wash hands frequently, avoid contact with sick people, disinfect and clean, get enough sleep, eat right and don’t forget that vitamin D, be a careful shopper avoiding high-peak shopping hours, don’t touch eyes, nose and mouth.

Staff writer Hilary Andrews can be reached at handrews

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