Hundreds of students out sick with flu at Collierville school

Hundreds of students out sick with flu at Collierville school
(Source: Smith, Courtney)

COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. (WMC) - The flu is making its presence known at West Collierville Middle School.

A district spokesperson tells WMC Action News 5 the school had 325 students absent at the start of school Tuesday. There are 1,285 students enrolled at the school.

Collierville Schools Chief of Staff Jeff Jones says it’s impossible to know exactly how many of those absences are a result of the flu, but typical absentee numbers are around 50 students a day.

Jones says it’s likely that about 250 to 275 of the school’s absences Tuesday are because of students with the flu or flu-like symptoms.

The district says they’ve been in contact with the Shelby County Health Department, which advised against closing the school because it “has not shown to be effective at containing illness," according to Jones.

Instead, Jones says the health department recommended following prevention guidelines from the CDC:

  • Teachers/staff should remind students to wash hands frequently.
  • Students exhibiting signs of illness, including -- but not limited to -- runny nose, cough, fever, lethargy, etc. should be sent home.
  • An early dose of anti-viral medication can lessen the length and severity of the flu.
  • Students should refrain from returning to school until they are fever-free with no medication for 24 hours.

Jones says Collierville Schools would consider school closure if a faculty and staff shortage develops, making safe supervision of students impossible.

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