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Inola Students, Teachers Hit Hard By Illness

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Out of the 600 students who go to school there, 260 were missing from the classrooms Tuesday. Out of the 600 students who go to school there, 260 were missing from the classrooms Tuesday.
The staff at the Inola elementary was at work well after students went home for the day, making sure the classrooms were as clean as possible. The staff at the Inola elementary was at work well after students went home for the day, making sure the classrooms were as clean as possible.
Inola Superintendent, Dr. Kent Holbrook blames the flu and a few other viruses for the most part. Inola Superintendent, Dr. Kent Holbrook blames the flu and a few other viruses for the most part.
INOLA, Oklahoma -

Nearly half of the elementary students in Inola were absent Tuesday, and about a third of the teachers called in sick too.

Inola Superintendent, Dr. Kent Holbrook blames the flu and a few other viruses for the most part, but also said a lot of parents are keeping their kids home so they don't catch what's going around.

The staff at the Inola elementary was at work well after students went home for the day, making sure the classrooms were as clean as possible. Their goal is to keep students healthy.

Out of the 600 students who go to school there, 260 were missing from the classrooms Tuesday.

From spraying down toys with a heavy-duty disinfectant machine to wiping down tables, Inola elementary teacher, Laurie Best, did all she could to keep the germs away, and cleaned almost everything in sight.

“The toy and kitchen areas the kids play in, the tables and chairs,” she said.

Disinfectant wipes could be found in every classroom and hand sanitizer dispensers line the hallway, but even all the extra measures can't keep students and teachers in school.

Holbrook said a number of illnesses are to blame.

“At the same time the flu is coming through, we have a stomach virus that seems to be coming through and some with strep throat," he said.

There have been 40 confirmed cases of the flu at the elementary school.

In addition to the ill students, many parents have chosen to keep their kids out of school as a precaution; Kendall Schmidt isn't one of those parents.

"I know the school is trying to keep it as safe and healthy for the kids as they can. Whenever you have a group of kids together, it's a risk. They are going to share germs," Schmidt said.

Other parents would rather make sure their kids stay out of the nurse's office.

“They are the parents. If that's the way they feel, they get to make that decision," Holbrook said.

The staff is hopeful students and teachers will be back soon.

“Hope everybody gets healthy and can get back to school. In the meantime, we will disinfect and continue cleaning," Best said.

The superintendent said, "I just keep praying it doesn't go over to our middle school and high school."

Holbrook said he doesn't plan to cancel school unless more teachers call in sick and there aren't enough substitutes to fill the classrooms.

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