Breckenridge Texan

BISD schools closed Thursday, Friday due to flu outbreak

BISD schools closed Thursday, Friday due to flu outbreak
February 07
15:54 2018

Breckenridge schools will be closed Thursday, Feb. 8, and Friday, Feb. 9, after the overall attendance on Wednesday, Feb. 7, dropped to 85 percent with one campus having fewer than 80 percent of its students at school. Tim Seymore, Breckenridge Independent School District Superintendent, attributes the low attendance rates to the current flu outbreak.

The most absences are in the elementary grades, but all schools will be closed. Seymore said that although some students have been sick, in other cases parents are keeping their children home so that they don’t get sick.

“Why are we canceling schools? Because, clearly, if kids aren’t at school, they won’t infect each other,” Seymore said. “I can’t guarantee every kid will come back virus-free, but I can never do that.”

While the students are dismissed from school Thursday and Friday, all district staff members are required to report to work Thursday morning to help disinfect their work spaces.

“We have extra (disinfectant) supplies being delivered this afternoon,” Seymore said Wednesday. “We do our best to disinfect surfaces – we do that daily. The flu virus doesn’t live on surfaces for more than 24 hours, so keeping people out of those facilities for a few days will make sure all the active viruses are dead when (the students) come back.”

Closing the school for two days shouldn’t affect the school calendar for the academic year. “We have enough minutes – because we go by minutes now – built into the system to cover these two days,” he said, acknowledging that there could still be bad weather days in the next few weeks.

According to information on the BISD Facebook page, the high school basketball games in Millsap will still take place Friday night, and the ACT test will still take place at Breckenridge High School Saturday morning. However, the junior high dance scheduled for Friday night will be rescheduled.

Frances Lerma, the Chief Nursing Officer for Stephens Memorial Hospital, said the Breckenridge Medical Center clinic has seen a large increase in flu patients, as well as patients with respiratory infections and flu-like diagnoses.

“Sometimes, you can take care of the flu at home, but in other cases, there are complications,” Lerma said. “Last week, we had about three patients admitted (to the hospital) with active flu who had complications. On average, recently, we have at least one person per week in the hospital (with flu complications).”

The symptoms of the flu can be varied, Lerma said, but one of the most compelling reasons to go see a doctor is a fever. “If they feel body aches, if they have trouble breathing, body aches, fever, cough, those are usually the flu symptoms,” she said.

The Texas Department of State Health Services recommends the following ways to reduce your chances of getting — or spreading — the flu:

  1. Get vaccinated.
  2. Wash hands frequently.
  3. Cover coughs and sneezes.
  4. Stay home if you’re sick.
  5. Convince those around you to follow steps 1 – 4.

According to a Dallas Morning News article dated Monday, Feb. 5, at least 54 people have died this flu season in Dallas County, with at least 23 more flu-related deaths in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area, including a 38-year-old teacher in Weatherford. There were 17 flu-related deaths in the DFW area in the 2016-2017 season. The story puts the number of pneumonia and flu-related deaths in Texas at almost 3,000 this season.


Story by Tony Pilkington and Carla McKeown

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