Rivercrest ISD closed for two days after dozens of confirmed flu cases send students home

RED RIVER COUNTY, Texas (KXII) -- Rivercrest ISD in Red River County was closed Wednesday and will remain closed Thursday after dozens of confirmed flu cases. News 12 spoke with the superintendent on what the district is doing about it.

"We've not had this extreme illness and we've not had to release school because of illnesses," Superintendent Stanley Jessee said.

Stanley Jessee says, in his three years as Rivercrest ISD Superintendent, he's never seen this many kids out sick in his school district.

"Our attendance normally is around 97 percent on an average day," Jessee exclaimed.

On Monday, the attendance had dropped down to 90 percent. That's when administrators started monitoring the attendance numbers.

"Tuesday, we came in and our attendance started out at 87 percent...that's when we took attendance that morning. Through the day it gradually got worse," Jessee told News 12.

And by the end of the day Tuesday, the district's attendance was down 12 percent.

"We have 671 kids in our district and 101 were gone," Jessee added.

Jessee and administrators made the decision to close the district for two days of deep cleaning and sanitizing.

"Everybody is pitching in, it's a big team effort right now," Jessee said. The teacher's are cleaning their classrooms and cleaning all the surfaces. The custodians are taking care of the hallways, lockers and bathrooms. We're fogging all the buses."

Higgins Family clinic in nearby Bogata has seen upwards of 40 confirmed cases of influenza A and B just this week alone.

Family nurse practitioner Patricia Higgins says most of her patients this week have had early symptoms that include sudden onset of high fever, body aches, nausea and sore throat.

Jessee says the classrooms will have hand sanitizer and wipes for students when they return Friday.

"We will tell them how to keep from sharing germs. We don't want to be sharing items, sharing food, and make sure we are washing our hands and making sure we are using hand sanitizer and doing all those things to make sure we keep the germs down," Jessee said.