Flu Cases Forced Ashe County Schools to Close Last Friday; Crews Spent the Weekend Disinfecting School Buildings

Published Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 2:18 pm

By Nathan Ham

Schools are always a breeding ground for the flu, colds and stomach viruses, however one area county seems to have been hit extremely hard.

Ashe County Superintendent Phyllis Yates made the decision to close all public schools this past Friday following increases in cases of the flu, strep throat and a stomach virus.

“All intense cleaning were completed over the weekend, so I plan to have school on a regular schedule barring any inclement weather. The flu virus only lives 24 hours so I feel good about our process. We continue to encourage those who do not feel well to please stay home,” Yates said in a statement.

Over 450 students and 30 teachers across the county’s five public schools were out of school last week due to illness. With that many teachers sick as well, it was a frantic search to find substitute teachers to fill in, another reason for the decision to close school on Friday.

Crews worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday at each school to clean and disinfect the building.

Community members and even another school district offered help with the deep cleaning. Caldwell County Schools Superintendent Dr. Donald Phipps reached out to Ashe County Schools and offered addition disinfecting equipment that was picked up and utilized over the weekend. Ashe County business owner and the parent of a middle school student, Chuck Bristle, owner of Jo Lynn Enterprises, donated his time and equipment that included professional cleaning equipment and an air purification system to help with the cleaning process.

Schools resumed as normal on Monday and athletic schedules were unaffected this week.

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