Both the Kemper County and Lauderdale County school districts are dealing with an outbreak of the flu.
In Kemper County, schools will be closed on Feb. 11 and 12 because of an uptick of the illness, according to Kemper County School District Superintendent Jackie Pollock.
Since last Friday, 100 students with flu-like symptoms have been absent in the elementary and high school, Pollock said. School staff took precautions by wiping down contaminated areas, and a cleaning team will come in to disinfect the schools before students return, she said. The closings will also allow students to rest and see a doctor, Pollock said.
The Lauderdale County School District also reported a flu outbreak at Clarkdale earlier this week. On Monday, 160 students of the school's 1003 students in grades K-12 were absent because of flu-like symptoms.
On Friday, 383 Clarkdale students were reported absent, but not all of the absences were flu-related, said Principal Ken Hardy. Some students were sick with strep throat, while others were kept at home by their parents, he said.
The Clarkdale schools will be disinfected by a outside team of cleaners over the weekend, while other schools in the district will be cleaned daily by their janitorial staff. Since Clarkdale is the only school in the district with so many absences, the cleaners will only focus on that school.
“We feel like Clarkdale is our main focus now because of the high numbers,” said Superintendent John-Mark Cain.
The district will continue to emphasize good hygiene, such as hand washing, covering your mouth, and cleaning desks and doors between classrooms, Cain said. He also urged parents to keep sick children at home rather than risk making other students at school sick.
All schools in Lauderdale County will be open on Monday, Cain said.
The Meridian Public School District has had reports of the flu, but not on a large scale, said Matt Davis, the district's public relations director.
Other districts in the state have also closed or taken measures to prevent the spread of the flu.
In northern Mississippi, the North Tippah School District and the South Tippah School District canceled classes Friday because of the illness, according to The Associated Press. Tupelo Christian Preparatory School was also closed.
The Tippah school districts reported nearly 350 students were absent Thursday.