Flu outbreak causes Lamar County School District to close for the week

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LAMAR COUNTY, Ala. (WCBI) – Wash, rinse, repeat.

Hundreds of people across Northeast Mississippi have been impacted by the flu.

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The Lamar County School District announced Tuesday it will close for the remainder of the week to clean and disinfect classrooms.

This came after reports of more than 200 students at South Lamar called out sick.

“We have a number of students that are out with the Flu or Strep or a combination of both,” said South Lamar Assistant Principal Josh Harper.

Harper said the number of absentees is close to the hundreds.

“Round about. Almost there, yes,” said Harper.

There were also a number of faculty and staff out.

It’s no surprise that the district decided to close for the remainder of the week.

“It’s okay to stay at home, the absences will be excused and the school work can be made up,” said Harper.

The district’s lead nurse, Mashella Crowley, said the schools tried to prevent this from becoming an issue earlier in the school year.

“In November, we had a company come and we offered flu shots for kids across the county, you know, so we had to get parent permission to do that, so we wanted to be proactive in the flu this year, you know, to try and help decrease the cases,” said Crowley.

Lamar County wasn’t the only place experiencing an influenza outbreak.

According to the CDC, there were widespread reports of the flu across the entire country.

“We have antibacterial soap in all the restrooms, hand sanitizer in the hallways. At the end of the day, we’re spraying everything down, disinfecting, our cafeteria workers are disinfecting throughout the day,” said Harper.

“Also we’re trying to teach people to keep their hands off their T-zone, which is your eyes, your nose, and your mouth because that’s one of the ways you can spread,” said Crowley.

Crowley said if you or your child start to experience flu-like symptoms, get to the doctor quickly.

“Get in with a healthcare provider. The sooner you can get in, they can offer some medications that might help lessen the signs and symptoms of the flu and help you kind of feel better,” said Crowley.

If you already have the flu, there are certain guidelines for when it’s safe to return to work or school.

“At least 24 hours fever free without using any kind of fever reducers like Tylenol and stuff,” said Crowley.

All South Lamar basketball games were been canceled this week.

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