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Flu outbreak causes Bushnell-Prairie City schools to close

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A Tri-State school district is shut down due to a flu outbreak.

The classrooms at all three schools in the Bushnell-Prairie City School district are empty, as nearly a quarter of elementary school students are at home with the flu.

Superintendent Kathy Dinger said canceling school is the first step to getting all students healthy.

It's a quiet day at at the Bushnell-Prairie City Elementary School.

The doors are locked and the hallways are empty.

The flu is to blame.

"We're just under 300, so when we're approaching 70 students being absent, we knew it was time to start taking a look to put some better preventative measures in place," Dinger said.

Jenifer Hood has three children, two students and one teacher in the district.

"My daughter said at the preschool, all the kids were all sick," Hood said. "So I assumed the elementary school was having a lot more problems than the older kids."

Dinger said all three schools are closed and getting a deep clean, as many of the older students showed up to class sick.

"We're fortunate that we have positive and trusting school community that knows we put staff and students first, so they've been very supportive and I think they understand that our primary focus is to keep children safe and get them through this period," Dinger said.

Hood said the decision to close the schools helps out everyone.

"Whatever they're getting at school, they're bringing home to mom and dad, so then we're getting it and it starts affecting the work places," Hood said.

Dinger said it's not just students. The virus started to spread to teachers, making it difficult to find substitutes.

Hood said it's good to know the school district makes health and safety a priority.

"The school district takes mostly everything with the kids very seriously," Hood said. "I feel good that they're going to make sure the kids aren't continuously spreading it around."

Dinger said the school will remain closed Thursday through Monday. Students can return to school on Tuesday, if they show no flu symptoms.

Dinger said the missed days will be considered emergency days. She said they have a few of those built into the schedule, so it will not impact the future school calendar.

Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat is a MultiMedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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