Flu forces Chico school closure

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, February 9, 2019

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Due to a high number of students and staff absent with flu-like illnesses, Chico ISD closed school Thursday and Friday.

Chico ISD Superintendent Don Elsom said the absence rate had grown to around 15 percent districtwide in the early part of the week.

“We’ve seen more flu-like symptoms – coughing, headaches, stomachaches – and it started to spread to different campuses,” Elsom said Wednesday shortly after the closure announcement was made.

All district buildings were disinfected Thursday and Friday by custodial staff.

Extracurricular activities were also canceled, with the exception of the varsity boys basketball game Friday, which was also senior night. Elsom said Little Dribblers will also use a district gym Saturday, but the gym will be disinfected again after the games before the district reopens on Monday at normal times.

Because the district has built in extra “minutes” for the school year, Elsom said they should not have to make up the days missed.

“We have enough minutes to cover this. The only way it would be a problem is if we had bad weather. We still have enough minutes to cover one bad weather day,” he said.

Wise Health System has been seeing an increasing number of flu cases in recent weeks. Through the first six days of February, 47 flu cases had been confirmed at the hospital.

“January averaged about 3.5 per day, and February is averaging approximately 7.8 per day right now,” Shannon Spann, Wise Health spokesperson, said of the confirmed flu case numbers.

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