The Alton R-IV School District and Couch School District have had to close so students could stay home to combat the flu and avoid spreading it to others.
Couch School District was closed Oct. 21-23 and Alton was closed Oct. 29 through Nov. 2
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "School and health officials should work closely to balance the risks of flu in their community with the disruption dismissals will cause in both education and the wider community. The length of time schools should be dismissed will vary depending on the type of dismissal as well as the severity and extent of illness. Schools that dismiss students should do so for five to seven calendar days and should reassess whether or not to resume classes after that period. Schools that dismiss students should remain open to teachers and staff so they can continue to provide instruction through other means."
The CDC says one school dismissal may not be enough in some cases. "Reactive dismissals might be appropriate when schools are not able to maintain normal functioning, for example, when a significant number and proportion of students have documented fever while at school despite recommendations to keep ill children home," according to the CDC. "Preemptive dismissals can be used proactively to decrease the spread of flu. CDC may recommend preemptive school dismissals if the flu starts to cause severe disease in a significantly larger proportion of those affected."
"We had about 86 percent of the school's student population out with the flu," Alton Superintendent Shelia Wheeler said.
She said the number of students attending school stayed very low several days prior to the school closing down.
"This is all for the good of the students," Wheeler said. "I hope they get to feeling better."