Hamburg students returned to school Monday after an emergency closure because of excessive flu cases last week, but the superintendent said the schools could possibly close again.
Hamburg schools were closed Thursday and Friday in response to reported flu cases. Superintendent Tracy Streeter said that 25 percent of students and 10 teachers absent from one Hamburg campus on Wednesday, not including the absences from the other campuses and the four bus drivers who were out.
Streeter said district personnel spent four days disinfecting the building with hopes to hinder the spread.
“It was a little better today, not a lot, but a little,” Streeter said. “We are doing all we can to keep it from spreading.”
The school district has Mainline Clinics on each campus, and Streeter said a majority of the students have been diagnosed in those clinics.
Streeter said the district is urging parents to keep children home who have flu symptoms and if diagnosed to not return until a doctor has cleared them.
“We know there are many spring activities that students don’t want to miss, but we need parents to do exactly as doctors say,” Streeter said.
Streeter said the district is checking numbers regularly, but putting numbers or statistics to the situation is difficult because they have students going home throughout the day.
The Arkansas Department of Education does not set a number or percentage of cases to determine closures, meaning it is up to each district to determine when there is a problem.
“It’s about numbers, but it’s also about quality education,” Streeter said.
Streeter said she is monitoring both student and staff attendance to make sure that the school is not only functioning, but functioning productively.
The district was able to use its Alternative Method of Instruction packets so that the days will not count against the district as an absence or canceled day.
Crossett Superintendent Gary Williams said that Crossett Schools are not seeing an alarming number of absences right now, but they will continue to monitor the situation.
“The district as a whole is fine,,” Williams said. “We are seeing some isolated numbers in the pre-k, but other than that our numbers are good.”
Williams said that Crossett School District administrators will continue watch the situation, but right now there wasn’t anything to be concerned about and the absentee rate is only about 11 percent.
“We will continue to monitor the numbers day by day and will take whatever steps necessary if a need arises,” Williams said.