Flu outbreak shuts down Tower/Soudan school until Tuesday

In this Feb. 7, 2018 file photo, a nurse prepares a flu shot at the Salvation Army in Atlanta. According to the CDC, flu costs the nation about $7 billion a year in sick days and lost productivity among working-age adults. That’s not to mention the heavy toll of hospitalizations and deaths that occur mainly among people 65 and older.

TOWER — Tower/Soudan Elementary has been shut down the rest of the week due to a widespread flu outbreak.

With 59 cases reported Wednesday, in a student population of 78 K-6 graders, administration decided to close the elementary school the rest of the week.

“We have a high number of kids out,” said St. Louis County Schools Superintendent Dr. Reggie Engebritson over the phone Wednesday. When asked if this has ever happened before, with the school closing due to illness, she said not to her knowledge.

Staff members have also been calling in sick and a total of four were out Wednesday.

The news was released by a post on the school’s Facebook page. In whole, it stated, “Due to the high number of students who are ill, the Tower-Soudan Elementary will be closed Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 and Friday, January 17,2020. We will resume school as scheduled on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. We are sorry for any inconvenience this causes and hope that our students and staff feel well soon.”

The school was scheduled to be closed Monday for teacher in-service and in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. With the addition of Thursday and Friday, students will have a five-day weekend to rest and recover.

“The hope is that the kids will be home to get the rest, fluids and medication they need. Hopefully when the kids return on Tuesday, the amount of absences and reported cases will have gone down,” Engebritson said. “We want the kids to get healthy and everyone to feel better for school next Tuesday.”

Similar to snowdays called in advance, the Tower-Soudan School will have their doors closed Thursday and Friday.

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