Michigan school district closes amid flu outbreak

The Britton Deerfield school district in Michigan canceled classes on Friday due to an outbreak of the flu that has spread among a number of teachers and students.

“The health and well-being of our families is our top priority,” Superintendent Stacy Johnson said, according to WTOL 11. “We are putting a plan in place for extra disinfecting and sanitizing within the buildings throughout the weekend with our custodial staff.”

Johnson told WWJ that about 20 percent of the student body was out sick, including her own son.

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“It’s hard when it hits your house,” she told the news outlet. “It’s certainly different because that hat between superintendent and mom is a little bit different sometimes. But really right now I’m just planning on going into the school today, if there’s any help I can be to the custodial staff. We’ve got our plan in place.”

Johnson said her husband, the high school football coach, also has the flu. According to the report, classes are scheduled to resume on Monday.

According to the CDC, two out of the 180 flu-related deaths in children occurred in Michigan last year. The health agency estimated that the flu killed 80,000 Americans last year, making it the highest in decades.

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Michigan health authorities have echoed federal officials in urging residents to get the flu shot as early as possible in order to curb the number of fatalities. Additionally, they encourage practicing good hygiene to stop the spread of germs.

“There are precautionary measures that every can take, aside from vaccinations we want people to remember to wash their hands, remember to stay home when you’re sick and make sure you are not a spreader, don’t be a spreader of the flu and just covering your coughs and sneezes,” Gillian Conrad, Berrien County Health Department Communications manager, told ABC 57.