A North Texas school district is canceling school for the next week because of the flu outbreak.
Gunter ISD will cancel classes starting Thursday through the Jan. 24. The district said nearly a quarter of its students were out sick on Wednesday.
"Flu happens every year, but we've never seen anything like this,” said Gunter ISD Superintendent Jill Siler. "Our elementary and middle school campuses have been the hardest hit. Out of the 194 students we had absent today, we have over 140 that were either confirmed flu or sent home with a fever and flu-like symptoms."
District nurse Casey Layman says there were 30 cases of the flu at the elementary school last week. Flu cases somehow doubled over the three-day weekend. One staff member was hospitalized.
"We are seeing both strains of the flu,” Layman said. “We are also seeing strep not associated with the flu."
The district is scheduled to reopen next Wednesday, but not before a professional cleaning company comes through.
Mitzi Nelson's son is one of the students who already had the flu and recovered from it.
"It makes me feel really confident in our administration that they're taking the measures they're taking,” she said.
Gunter ISD is not alone. Bonham ISD announced Tuesday that it too canceled classes for a week because of the flu. Sunnyvale ISD also had to close for sickness for two days in December.
"Certainly there have been high levels of flu and sickness at all of the area districts,” Siler said. “But I don't know that anyone has seen the numbers that Gunter has seen."
Gunter officials said campuses and buses will be disinfected. The days off will not have to be made up.