The flu epidemic is hitting the nation hard especially in schools. The Center for Disease Control Center says the flu has taken the lives of 20 children.
School districts closed down Thursday all over the country, and southeast Idaho has two schools in Blackfoot that did as well: Blackfoot Charter Community Learning Center and Bingham Academy.
Aside from those two charter schools, other districts in the area are not seeing anything out of the ordinary with their attendance. Here’s a quick summary of he major school districts in the region and what they had to say about their attendance records over the past week:
Pocatello/Chubbuck School District #25 has its elementary attendance at 95 percent, middle schools at 97 percent and high schools at 95 percent; all is normal. Blackfoot School District #55 said its attendance is at 95.7-percent; its not experiencing any drastic drops due to illness. Bonneville Joint School District #93 is seeing average attendance records; as is the Idaho Falls School District #91. Madison School District #321 said there is no major drops in attendance yet. Jefferson Joint School District #251 reports attendance is as normal over the past week. Teton School District #401 is dealing with flu-illnesses. In Dec. the district’s average attendance was at 94 percent, right now the schools are at 90-91 percent. The superintendent told KIFI/KIDK the flu is apparent in students, staff and teachers but is not severe enough to close down the schools. Teton County School District #1 has seen an increase in absences, but that is what is expected during this time of year.
The H3N2 strain of Influenza A is what’s affecting thousands from coast to coast. In California there are already 142 flu-related deaths this season in San Diego County. 51 of them were reported just last week.
For the Gem State, it has already surpasses last year’s flu death toll.
“We’re ahead of our curve from last year just a little bit, and last year was one of the severest years we’ve had on record. We want to encourage everyone to get their flu shot, stay home if they’re sick, wash your hands frequently — those standard precautions that we always recommend,” said Mike Taylor, a surveillance epidemiologist with Eastern Idaho Public Health.