Flu outbreak closes Jesuit College Prep Dallas

A Dallas high school is temporarily closing due to the recent flu outbreak.

Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas will close Tuesday and Wednesday “in the effort to support the health and safety of our community,” school officials said.

It’s unclear how many of its students have been sick with flu-like symptoms. The school will use the closing to disinfect the campus.

This year’s flu season in Dallas County has claimed 43 lives, including a 17-year-old.

Several other North Texas school districts have already made the decision to temporarily close schools due to the flu outbreak. Gunter ISD and Bonham ISD closed schools for a week.

Dr. Matthew Vereecke is the superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Dallas. While Jesuit is a private Catholic school not owned and operated by the diocese, its students and those of the diocese interact at events, including a school dance last weekend involving several schools.

Dr. Vereecke says the diocese is watching the Jesuit situation closely and has its own threshold for considering a school closure.

“In the diocese, we really look at about a 10 percent average of students being ill or absent from the school,” he explained. “At that point, we'll contact the local county health department to find out what they would want us to do. And we really rely on the advice of those professionals.”

School events away from campus can also be a place to spread germs and bring them back to the classroom. But instead of canceling those activities, Dr. Vereecke says student participation is up to parents.

Approximately 1,100 students attend the private, college-prep campus. It will reopen after 4 p.m. on Wednesday.