Schools Report Spike in Flu Cases
Flu season is hitting some schools in the metro worse than in previous years. Beacon Academy in Crystal is among the schools hit hard by the flu.
“We normally have about two and half of our student population absent on any given day, and over the last couple of weeks we had anywhere from five to 10 percent of our students absent,” said Beacon Academy Principal Sean Koster.
The school is dealing with Influenza A (H3N2), a strain known to cause more severe illnesses. Beacon Academy nurse Lisa Fernelius says she has sent home nine or 10 kids per day over the last four days. Fernelius thinks this flu season is so bad because the flu vaccine is not as effective as in years’ past.
“Because the flu hit so fast, a lot of times parents send their kids to school, they’re fine, and they get here and literally within two to three hours, they can develop 102, 103 degree fever,” Fernelius said.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the number of school flu outbreaks have gone up. Last week there were 111 schools reporting outbreaks, up from 72 the previous week. The outbreak at Beacon Academy has first-grade teacher Heather Greibrok taking extra precautions.
“We have washed out tables daily, Lysol the chairs, door handles, we have Clorox wipes, that we’re using,” said Greibrok.
Students are also washing their hands more frequently. Meanwhile, blankets and other personal items are sent home each week for a cleaning in hopes of kicking the flu bug to the curb.