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Indianola Calls Off School As Flu Sweeps Through Community

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PITTSBURG COUNTY, Oklahoma -

Over the last several weeks, nine school districts plus an Oklahoma City high school shut down due to the flu.  

The latest district is Indianola Public Schools in Pittsburg County.

So far, 45 people have died and there have been more than 1,000 people hospitalized throughout the state. 

In Indianola, school is now canceled Thursday and Friday as the district tries to get ahead of the virus.

Superintendent Adam Newman said he decided to make the call Wednesday afternoon after having way too many people out with the flu. 

"It's getting to the point where we can’t have school because even the substitutes when we call them in are sick," said Indianola Public Schools Superintendent Adam Newman.  

At the end of Wednesday, about 26 students district-wide and about 8 staff members were out with the flu. 

"Ultimately the biggest decision came from the number of staff again when you have about 1/3 of your staff to be out that's a lot of substitutes and a lot of them that are not used to schedule through the day," said Newman.  

Newman asked teachers to spend time cleaning their classrooms and sanitizing common areas from desks to tables, bathrooms to buses all in an effort to eradicate this deadly virus. 

"The flu is a viral Pneumonia.  It is actually quite serious.  It's not a stomach bug. It's not a cold.  It will lay you out and it may kill you," said Dr. Rachel Franklin with OU Family Medicine.

"Unfortunately the vaccine this year looks to be about 30% effective. In a really good year it's about 60% effective," said Dr. Franklin. 

As school remains closed for the next several days, the superintendent has a message to parents and students alike. 

"Those that do have it stay home, don't get out and spread that and those that don't have it allow those that did to rest recoup and not spread it any further," Newman said. 

Doctors said although we're about halfway through the flu season, it’s not too late to get the shot. 

Other school districts closed due to widespread illness include Stigler Schools in Haskell County and Panama Schools in LeFlore County.  Both districts say on their websites, classes will resume on Monday, January 29th.

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