Skip to Content

Newburg R-II Schools closing due to flu

A Mid-Missouri school is closing because so many students have the flu.

Wednesday, officials with Newburg R-II Schools announced all classes will be cancelled Thursday and Friday at the elementary and high school.

About 14 percent of elementary students were absent Tuesday and Wednesday, according to Superintendent Dr. John Westerman. And it has traveled to the high school with a higher percentage of students out there Wednesday as well, he said.

Usually he would wait until the absences are at about 20 percent before closing the schools, Westerman said. But there were several other factors that played into his decision.

“The real problem is that we had 20 percent of our elementary teachers out,” Westerman said. “And it’s difficult to staff in that situation. Our bus drivers are beginning to call in sick. With our teachers, either they’re out sick or they have kids out sick so they had to stay home with them.”

Newburg R-II Schools have a total of about 430 students in the elementary school and high school, plus about 40 preschoolers.

The absences due to the flu started coming in last week and then grew significantly this week, Westerman said.

School nurse Starla Slawson said the number of students coming into her office this year is much higher compared to the same time last December.

“We have more cases actually of influenza A this year,” Slawson said. “Last year we had of course flu, this is the flu season so we had children that were gone due to that. But we have noted more kids that are actually diagnosed with influenza A.”

The Phelps County Health Department hosted a flu clinic for students at the schools earlier in the semester according to Slawson.

“It is very important to get your flu vaccination,” Slawson said. “We did have a flu clinic here and we had about 60 kids that were vaccinated. Sometimes the strain varies a little bit, but even with that it even helps to decrease the time that you have the flu. And then sometimes it will prevent totally having the flu.”

The virus symptoms include coughing, sore throat, fever, headache, stomach ache and fatigue, Slawson said.

The schools have been cleaning and sanitizing desks daily, Westerman said. They also make sure hand sanitizers are readily available throughout the building. But they will do additional deep-cleaning starting Thursday so the schools are ready for students returning from winter break, Westerman said.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

ABC 17 News Team


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content