It was supposed to be picture day for many students in the McDade Independent School District, but instead school was canceled for the rest of the week after a flu outbreak.
McDade ISD Superintendent Barbara Marchbanks said custodial and maintenance staff will spend the next few days disinfecting classrooms.
“Anything and everything that a human hand could have touched” is being cleaned, she said.
About 87 percent of students in the school district attended classes Wednesday, a 10 percent decrease from the same time last year. Less than 70 percent of pre-K and kindergarten students went to school.
Marchbanks said the cause of the flu outbreak is unknown, but “bacteria" from family and friends after returning from a holiday break can make the impact of the virus worse.
“We have had 40 confirmed [flu] cases," she said, "and we’ve had parents call us and say that they have not taken their child to the doctor, but they do have flu-like symptoms.”
She said the students will not have to make up the missed time.
“The state requires a certain amount of minutes per year for students to attend school," she said, "but because we had more than enough minutes, these two days are not going to count against the students."
About 15 faculty members have reported having the flu, Marchbanks said, but that does not include reported illnesses from cafeteria and custodial staff, bus drivers and others.
Marchbanks said she’s encouraging students, parents and staff to get plenty of rest, food, water and vitamin C. She also said parents should take students with symptoms to a doctor.
Classes are scheduled to begin again Monday.