Flu-related absences have nearly tripled at Abilene ISD

Abilene ISD has released startling numbers on flu-related absences that have occurred at its schools in recent weeks.

In just one week, the number of absences have nearly tripled.

Last week, 475 students were reported absent, compared to 165 the week before and 101 the week prior. AISD's Director of Health Services, Linda Langston is worried the numbers could get worse before they get better.

"If history repeats itself, I'm sure we are going to see a lot more numbers of flu cases," said Langston.

What's spreading the illness so quickly? Students are coming to school while they're sick.

"That's one thing that I would like to stress, because if they are diagnosed, if they do have a fever, they need to stay home for 24 hours without a fever-reducing agent," Langston said.

This time last year, the school district reported only 121 flu-related absences in January.

"We are seeing a lot more flu this year," Langston said.

Like other districts, AISD has been disinfecting the facilities on nights and weekends with a strong disinfectant. Faculty members have also started taking matters into their own hands.

"Teachers are wiping down surfaces in their classrooms, the nurses are using cans and cans of disinfectants in the clinics and trying to spray off things that kids touch in there," Langston said.

But there is still one precaution for flu prevention that can't be stressed enough: the flu shot.

"If someone has had the flu shot and they do get the flu, the symptoms are not as severe if they did it receive it," Langston said.

Students are also urged to wash their hands as much as possible.

Langston told us that Abilene ISD has no plans on closing any of their schools, like Rotan and Hermleigh's schools did last week.

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