Flu outbreak causes school closures for some KS districts

PEABODY, Kan. Update Friday, Jan. 26:

School districts across Kansas, including Peabody-Burns (USD 398) canceled classes Friday do to a flu outbreak.

The Kiowa County school district also canceled classes Thursday.

In Peabody, classes and school-related activities are canceled through Sunday. Peabody-Burns School Superintendent Ron Traxon says he shut down school Friday to give students time to get better and to thoroughly disinfect buildings in the district.

He says the flu hit Peabody-Burns quickly and unexpected last week.

"Last week, the basketball team attended a basketball tournament and when they came back from it over the weekend, into Monday, a lot of them had come down with the flu," Traxon says.

Peabody-Burns Junior and Senior High School Principal Scott Kimble says the illness then spread through classes at the school.

After he says 25 percent of the school got sick, Traxon decided to take action.

Kimble says the school's maintenance and custodial staff spent the better part of Friday morning using a fogger to disinfect everything.

"They sprayed all the lockers, they sprayed the classrooms, they sprayed the handrails, the door handles," Kimble says.

Dr. Randolph Whitely says he believes the district did the right thing to prevent an epidemic.

"I think that was a smart thing to do. It's just to decrease the spread, obviously," Whitely says. "Kids are kids and they tend to touch everything and they're curious, things get crazy and they become an epidemic after awhile."

-----

The Peabody-Burns school district (USD 398) announced Thursday it is canceling school district-wide Friday (Jan. 26) due to "widespread" illness.

The district says flu is the main culprit, but there is also strep going around, affecting students and staff.

The Kiowa County school district also canceled classes this week due to illness. Students in the district are out of school Thursday and Friday.

With the school closures comes news this week that Kansas is the
most flu-ridden state in the country,