The Emery County School District has made the decision to close Cleveland Elementary School after today, October 13th, for three days, October 14-16. School will open again on Monday the 19th.
Cleveland Elementary School is a small rural school with a student population of 187 students. Cleveland has had nearly 50% student absenteeism the last two days due to student illness. The illnesses being reported are varied and are not all related to H1N1 virus. The local health department is also working with community and church leaders to curtail community and church related activities involving children who attend Cleveland Elementary School for the next several days. The School District has also asked parents to keep children home during the school closure and to curtail activities that allow students to congregate with friends or in groups.
While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend school closure to control the spread of the flu (the idea being that it is better to keep healthy kids in school and have sick kids stay home), the school district feels that the rate of illness at the school is disrupting education and that it would be better to close for a few days to allow students to heal and return to school on Monday, October 19th.
While other schools are not currently experiencing the same rate of illness that Cleveland Elementary has seen, the district, in consultation with the Health Department, will assess the need to close schools on a school-by-school basis. The district is also advising their schools to be cooperative and flexible with students and parents with regard to providing homework and with attendance policies during this flu season.