ASHE COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Ashe County Schools will be closed Friday due to a recent spike in flu cases.
The district posted the following message on their website Thursday: “Due to the increase in the flu outbreak at all schools, Ashe County Schools will be closed tomorrow, Friday, February 8, for both students and staff.”
At least 30 teachers were also out sick.
Wednesday, the district released a statement to parents and students in their system that schools across the community were dealing with the flu outbreak.
The spread of Type A influenza has led the school system to work closely with the Ashe County Health Department to attempt to slow the spread of this highly contagious strain.
On Wednesday, 160 students at Ashe Middle School stayed home sick, nearly a third of the entire student body. 150 students at the high school were out sick on Wednesday as well and at the local elementary schools, around 50 children from each stayed home due to the outbreak.
Principals and staff members were taking preventative measures such as disinfecting all surfaces and objects that are frequently touched in the classrooms and encouraging students to wash their hands with soap and running water rather than only applying hand sanitizer.
The system’s Transportation Director equipped all buses with Clorox wipes for students and drivers to use Wednesday.
The spike in flu cases has extended past Ashe County as Iredell County has also taken measures to stop the spread of this virus by restricting children under the age of 17 from visiting local hospitals due to over 50 cases being reported at these sites in less than a week.
Atrium, Novant, CaroMont Medical and other major healthcare facilities are restricting hospital access for visitors as a result of the growing flu cases.
Parents in all affected communities are encouraged to still consider taking their children to get flu shots but in the short-term, the most effective strategy is to keep them out of school if they are displaying any symptoms and to prevent them from visiting local hospitals unless they are receiving medical attention.
In addition to being out of school on Friday, no home games of any sport will be held on school property. Recreation facilities at the schools will be closed until Monday.
Officials are hoping the three days will give illnesses more time to run their course and keep them from being transmitted from student to student.
Officials are hoping they can be back in the classroom on Monday. Friday will mark the 13th missed day this year. All but Friday were due to weather.