Washington County schools have been riddled by an outbreak of the flu and strep throat, according to School Superintendent John Dickey.

The school system is closing every school Friday, February 20.

“The absenteeism because of the flu and strep over the last few weeks is terrible,” Superintendent Dickey said.

Washington County Public Schools made the announcement via Facebook Thursday:

“There will be no school tomorrow for students in Washington County. Absences due to flu and strep are at all time high. We ask that you use this extra long holiday break to implement as many precautionary steps as you can. Wash all school clothing and backpacks in hot water. Please avoid anyone (outside the family) with flu symptoms, and do not end your children back to school if they present any signs of the infection. Excuses for flu or strep will NOT count against the students for exceptions.”

“Our faculty is sick. Our students are sick,” Dickey explained. “it’s getting worse so we’re trying to curb it as much as possible.”

Dickey said the school system is taking preventative measures to ensure the inside of the school is cleaned and disinfected for students’ return on Wednesday.

“We’re in the process now. We bought enough Lysol and Clorox to float a battleship. They’re wiping down everything from Chromebooks to desktops floor. We’re encouraging the parents to make sure all of their school clothes, their backpacks are washed and disinfected,” Dickey explained.

“If they have a fever or if they think their child is sick, keep them at home. Don’t send them even to daycare. It spreads. They cough in their hands, they touch everything. They even drink after each other,” said Tamaran Cooper, a Chatom resident.

Many others like Cooper in Washington County said they’ve fallen victim to the flu this season as well, including Supt. Dickey.

“3 weeks ago, I had strep and flu at the same time, I didn’t think I was going to make it. I missed a week’s worth. I’ve never missed a week’s worth,” Dickey said.

“I have had it this year also. Pretty bad its rough definitely on this with all the kids,” Cooper added.

It’s a time to recover for some, but others are just excited about a day off.

“My daughter sent my wife a text message saying that they done shut down school tomorrow,” Charles Matlock said. “Yea. She’s a little excited”

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Toi Thornton is a Reporter. His Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism comes from Dillard University in 2014 and his Master's degree in New Media Journalism from Full Sail University in 2016. He previously worked as the Fox anchor in Lafayette, LA.

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