GRANT COUNTY, Ind. – An elementary school in Grant County has been forced to shut down because almost half of the students have come down with the flu. And, it appears the illness is just getting worse.
Kids headed home Wednesday afternoon and they’re not coming back until Friday.
“I’ve been here 25 years and I’ve never seen this before,” said Sherri Hyatt, a third grade teacher.
“And I have been 20 plus years teaching and I have never seen this many children out sick,” added first grade teacher Julie White.
At Eastbrook South Elementary School, 31 percent of students were absent on Monday and 44 percent were out sick on Wednesday.
“This is unusual,” said Superintendent Brett Garrett.
That’s not to mention the 15 staff members who have also become ill.
“On Monday, I had 11 absent and 10 today out of 21,” added White.
The school closed Tuesday to attempt to kill the infection, cleaning surfaces that kids may touch, cough or sneeze on.
“We did a thorough cleaning of the building,” said Garrett, “We actually went and had our bus drivers clean their buses again.”
But with more than 200 kids out, the school contacted the local health department and the Indiana Department of Education.
“We were seeing symptoms of cough, fever, upset stomach, vomiting, just feeling yuck,” said Jodi Brodkorb, the Eastbrook Community Schools nurse.
Influenza A isn’t the only concern, next week students are set to take IREAD. If the symptoms continue, the school might end up asking for a waiver from the Department of Education to extend testing.
“It’s been a challenge for all of us in keeping students engaged,” said Garrett. “This is exceptionally tough because we’re getting students ready and prepared for standardized testing.”
The school is taking this day by day with hopes that empty classrooms will be full and healthy sooner rather than later.
“How long is this going to last? We’d all like to know the answer to that,” said Brodkorb.
Again, school is closed for Eastbrook South Elementary School Thursday, March 13.
Their hope is to reopen Friday, March 14.