20 percent of students call out sick; school closed rest of week

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Memphis Catholic school will be closed through the end of the week.

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School will be closed Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday due to a broad range of illnesses affecting students, staff, and faculty.

The diocese said 100 students either called in sick or went home sick Tuesday. That's 20 percent of the student body.

"They had apparently strep throat, or flu, or a stomach bug," Director of Communications Suzanne Aviles said. "With that number of children who were ill, we start being concerned that it's going to continue to spread."

The diocese added that the school is taking precautions to make sure no more students get sick.

According to the school's Facebook page, all school activities will be canceled until Monday. Athletes should contact their coaches about tournament play.

Michael McCusker has two children who attend the school. He said he is thankful the school took these actions.

"It's probably the smartest decision they can make," McCusker said. "Everyday of the week I am absolutely comfortable that Saint Francis is doing everything to protect my children."

A cleaning company will disinfect the campus to eliminate any illnesses.

McCusker said his niece and nephew, who attend a school in Knox County, had their school closed as well for similar circumstances.

Shelby County Health Department released the following keys to protecting yourself:

  • With at least eight weeks remaining in the current flu season, there is still time to get a flu shot.
  • If you are sick, stay home from work. If your child is sick, keep them home from school. Both influenza and norovirus spread rapidly from person to person.
  • Stay home from school or work for 24-36 hours AFTER you are asymptomatic. Many will return to school or work once they feel better not realizing they are still shedding virus and can pass along illness to others.
  • WASH YOUR HANDS! One of the proven methods to prevent the spread of illness is to wash your hands frequently. Parents are encouraged to talk with young children about using warm water and lathering hands with soap.

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