Several Green Country school districts have closed for the week because a majority of their students are out sick with the flu.
Four districts have closed for the rest of the week, including Dewar Schools where a third of the students have stayed home sick. News on Six reporter Emory Bryan says history can wait - because after they did the math - and teachers added up all the absences - it was clear the flu dropped the hammer on Dewar Schools.
"At 20% you start getting nervous at 25% you start considering it, and we're at 30%." Superintendent Billy Green walks the empty halls where the smell is everywhere - the smell of disinfectant. â€œWe used a lot of disinfectants on the doorknobs and the bathrooms, our janitors and principals did that and we hope it killed a lot of germs and keeps us from spreading them when we come back next week.â€
Dewar emptied their playgrounds and school buildings for the rest of the week, after 140 students and 10 teachers stayed home sick Tuesday. The Okmulgee County Health Department thinks it's the best course. Mark Jones, "There are cases in which you have a fairly rapidly spreading disease where a lot of people are getting ill, that isolation is the best course and you just wait for the disease to run its course."
The students at Dewar complained of symptoms that sound like flu - and a school in the winter is the perfect place for it to spread. â€œThey can't go out for recess when it's cold they eat in the same places, use the same bathrooms.â€
Dewar schools will re-open Monday. They hope the worst of the flu is behind them - and that a week apart will cure the problem. But until then - the rooms remain empty - the bells go unnoticed - because school is out for the week.
The flu has hit the nearby Okmulgee School district too. They had more than a hundred students out sick Thursday - but they think the worst of it is behind them.
The Dewar Schools sent a letter to parents reminding them of the importance of hand washing - it's one of the easiest ways to stop the spread of the flu.