Flu causing low attendance at Iola ISD

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IOLA, Tex. (KBTX) - While flu has been especially bad in Brazos County this season, attendance at Iola ISD is down this month. The district told KBTX around 50 to 60 students were out, on average, every day because of the flu last week. Iola only has about 510 students enrolled.

"Last week was pretty tough on us," said Iola ISD Superintendent Chad Jones.

"In my five years here, this has definitely been the most we've been hit with the flu," he said.

Jones said school officials are taking a proactive approach to fight the illness. They are sending students home who come to school with symptoms and sanitizing every surface, from sink faucets to doorknobs.

"Also our maintenance crew is doing an amazing job thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting everything and not just once a day. When an elementary class leaves to go to P.E., they’re coming in and kind of sweeping through," he said.

Jones added they will seek a waiver from the state for low attendance Friday. The state takes an average of the previous year's attendance. Iola's average was 96.7 percent.

"If you fall ten percentage points below that, anytime for any day this year, you can file for a wavier and then would get paid from the state at last year's rate," he said.

Monday's attendance was at more than 90 percent. Jones hopes the worst is over. A lot of teachers have children that attend school in Iola.

"It's been a challenge to get substitute teachers in," said Jones.

KBTX talked to several parents who said they were concerned about their kids contracting the flu. One mother said her son got sick just before Christmas. Now, she's worried he might get a different flu strain.

"It's kind of hitting quite a few districts right now," said Jones.

District officials said, even though it's the middle of flu season, it's still not too late to get a flu shot.