MCDADE, Texas (KXAN) — In less than one week, 40 cases of the flu have been reported in small town McDade, Texas. They all came from Pre-K to first-grade students at McDade ISD, prompting the district to announce Wednesday it will close its schools Jan. 24-25 due to attendance issues related to flu and flu-like viruses.
“We decided we would close the school and give time for our custodial staff and maintenance staff and cafeteria staff to clean every inch of all of our buildings,” said McDade ISD Superintendent Barbara Marchbanks.
In an announcement Wednesday night, Marchbanks cited low attendance percentages as reasoning for the closure. Student attendance percentages for Wednesday were 67 percent for pre-K, 68 percent for kindergarten and 78 percent for first graders.
Overall, the attendance percentage was 86.5 percent district-wide. Keep in mind, the entire district has 377 students total and 66 staff members.
“We are cleaning every inch that students or staff of faculty may have touched — so if a human hand can reach it, we are cleaning it,” Marchbanks said.
Marchbanks adds that part of the blame for the influenza outbreak is the cold front that pushed through recently, and kids returning from holiday vacation.
“It’s common after holidays for students who travel to all parts of the United States and some to other countries and they come back with viruses or illnesses, so having a flu outbreak after holiday time is very common,” she said.
The school says it will not make up for the time lost for the cleaning and disinfecting the six buildings that make up the district.