Pike County Schools close due to widespread influenza
With influenza in Kentucky peaking at "widespread status," schools across the region are seeing a decrease in student attendance.
Pike County Schools Assistant Superintendent Freddie Bowling said that the trend was no different in Pike County.
"We have been looking at attendance this week and it has steadily declined," Bowling said.
The district announced Thursday that students would not have school Friday, in order to give them a chance to recuperate. The nontraditional instruction day will give the district a four-day weekend, offering more time to sanitize campuses.
According to Fadi Al Akhrass, MD, the sanitation and time to recover are both important during the flu season.
"When they have the fever when they have to send them home, then they are not allowed to go back to school unless the fever is gone for at least 24 hours and unless they're seen by their physician for that," he said.
Dr. Al Akharas, an infectious disease specialist at Pikeville Medical Center, said parents have to be vigilant.
"So, parents, they have to be responsible," he said. "It's not about letting the kids go to school because they have a job to do. They have also to care about the other kids and the other parents."
He said being tested when symptoms appear is important because influenza shares many of the symptoms with other viruses. He also encouraged flu vaccinations.