Holyoke charter school cancels Friday classes amid flu outbreak


Staff Writer
Published: 1/24/2020 4:13:25 PM
Modified: 1/24/2020 4:13:12 PM

HOLYOKE — As flu season continues, a local school canceled classes on Friday in an effort to reduce infections.

In an email to families on Wednesday, Holyoke Community Charter School Principal Sonia Correa Pope said that because of a “significant number” of staff and students with the flu or flu-like symptoms, the school would be closed Friday.

Pope said that the school would disinfect classrooms, computers, lockers, the cafeteria and other areas on Friday as a precaution. Students were sent home with an academic packet on Thursday to be completed by Monday. 

“We hope to come back to a newly disinfected building on Monday ... and will ensure our due diligence to keep it up,” Pope’s message read.

Massachusetts saw a high level of influenza-like illness activity this week, according to data from the state Department of Public Health. On Thursday, DPH officials reported that a teenager in Worcester County had died from influenza — the first child flu death in the state this season.

“All influenza strains that have been characterized in Massachusetts this season to date are covered by the current influenza vaccine,” the DPH’s weekly flu report says.

The Centers for Disease Control have a series of recommendations for K-12 schools. Among them: encouraging students, parents and staff to get yearly vaccines; taking everyday preventive actions like urging people to stay home when sick, providing flexible sick leave policies and teaching “respiratory etiquette” like covering your cough; and educating families and staff on what to do when someone gets sick.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.
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