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Abilene ISD urging students to stay home if sick with flu

Abilene ISD has had over 440 students absent with the flu last week, which is approximately 30 less than the previous week.

Phil Ashby, AISD’s director of communications, said they have a new incentive in place that gives high school students a reason to be present.

"The school district instituted a finals exemption for courses in high school. If you're absent less than a prescribed amount and you have an average that is good in that class, then you could opt out of taking the final at the end of the semester," Ashby said.

Ashby said the school district has two types of absences: verified and unverified. A verified absence takes place when a student is out sick and has a note from a doctor.

So even if students are out sick with the flu, their absences will count and they won’t be able to be exempt from their final exams.

“AISD is not different than any school district in any community right now,” Ashby said. “We’re all feeling the effects of the flu.”

Although they’ve had a drop in absences from the previous week, Ashby said that the last thing he wants is for students to attend school and get others sick.

“We don’t want students coming to school when they’re ill,” Ashby said. “That’s not good for them, it’s not good for the students, it’s not good for staff.”

Ashby said their attendance rules will remain the same.

"At this point, we're not considering any changes to our exemption rules,” Ashby said. “There have been years when we didn't offer exemptions, so we still think it's an incentive for students to come to school when they can, not to come to school when they're sick."

In the meantime, all AISD schools are being disinfected at night and on the weekends to prevent illnesses from spreading.

If the school district's flu numbers grow, Ashby said then they’ll see if any actions need to be taken.

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