School districts and doctors work to stop flu outbreak

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Flu is on the rise in Arkansas and Little Rock is seeing more and more cases. Little Rock School District closed two campuses after a flu outbreak and more could shut their doors.

It’s quiet classrooms and empty desks at two Little Rock campuses that had to halt their studies for a deep cleaning.

“Everything from kitchen table tops to desks to floors and using some extreme chemicals to hopefully wipe out any kind of bacteria that might be at those campuses,” LRSD Superintendent Michael Poore said.

Rockefeller Elementary and Martin Luther King had to shut their doors after 30% of students at each campus reported having the flu. Superintendent Poore says they haven’t had to shut down a campus in more than 20 years because of sickness, but this year’s flu outbreak is taking a toll. When 20% of students are out sick they start to get nervous but when it reaches 30% they have to shut down and disinfect.

“We don’t take this lightly to close schools but we also want to do the very best to try and create a healthy learning environment,” Poore said.

This sickness isn’t just hitting schools.

“Some of my staff has already been sick this year,” Hillcrest Family Clinic Doctor Jay Holland said.

Dr. Holland runs a small clinic and has just three doctors on staff including himself.

“If I’m sick or the other doctors are sick then the patients who have other illnesses aren’t taken care of,” Dr. Holland said.

That’s why he takes a different approach to treating the flu. While most doctor’s offices are packed with people coughing and blowing their nose, Dr. Holland’s is pretty quiet.

“We’re only having about 2 or 3 real flu a day,” Dr. Holland said.

He says if patients have the symptoms they most likely have the flu and will diagnose with just a phone call.

“Don’t come in, don’t leave the house,” Dr. Holland said.

Holland says waiting rooms are the best place to catch the flu and by eliminating contamination, he has a healthier staff and community.

“Our population really didn’t have much flu because they weren’t contaminated in the office,” Dr. Holland said.

That’s what the school district is hoping to do with their closings-keep kids home, disinfect and bring those numbers down.

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