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Influenza Outbreak Causes Temporary School Closure In Southern Oregon

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A flu outbreak has caused a southern Oregon elementary school to close for two days this week

Chiloquin Elementary School in Klamath County is closed Thursday and Friday. For the last two weeks, about 16-25 percent of its 190 students have called out sick, and nearly a quarter of its 25 teachers are missing.

School nurse Rochelle Hill says the elementary school had to start combining classrooms to allow teachers to stay home.

“It’s hard as a rural school to get assistance with subs to help cover the teachers when their students or themselves are sick,” Hill said. “They don’t feel like they have the ability to take that time off to get better.”

Hill says the long weekend will give sick students and teachers a little extra time to heal. It will also give the rest of the staff an opportunity to fully sanitize the school’s furniture.

Hill says she’s not aware of any other school in Oregon closing because of a flu outbreak.

Health officials say people who are diagnosed with the flu should stay home for at least five days, but seven days is recommended.

April Ehrlich is an editor and reporter at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Previously, she was a news host and reporter at Jefferson Public Radio.