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Indiana school closes its doors for few days to stop spread of flu, RSV

School leaders sent out letters to parents Tuesday notifying them about the spread of viruses and the decision to cancel in-person classes.

NEW ALBANY, Ind. — Experts expect this flu season be worse than years prior, and one Indiana school is witnessing this first hand.

"I've been the school leader here for 25 years, [and I] have never seen anything like this," Barbara Burke-Fondren, director of the Community Montessori, said. 

Burke-Fondren says flu season is off to a rough start. Right now, 13 students at the Montessori are home sick with the flu. In addition, half of all the classes have up to 40% of students out with the flu, RSV and COVID. 

"What's surprising to me is that it's happening this soon," Burke-Fondren said. "That's the part that makes me worried. How can we try to slow this down right now in our community?"

The answer Burke-Fondren says is closing the school on Thursday and Friday. Students from daycare through 12th grade will work from home in hopes of slowing down the spread. She says this time will be used to clean the campus and monitor students' symptoms.

Parent Jessie Flint says the school made the right decision. 

"I think it was a tough call to have had to make, but I think it's the right call especially because we kind of figured out how to do virtual learning during the pandemic and the shut downs, so we can do it. And I don't see why we wouldn't try to mitigate the spread," Flint said. 

Tom Harris, Floyd County's public health officer, agrees. Harris says Indiana is seeing a rise in flu cases. He added the spread at the Community Montessori is just the beginning of a severe flu season.

"This is clearly the year to get the flu shot. If you ever been on the fence, I would get the shot this year. Flu season this year is going to be a bad one," Harris said. 

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