A big spike in absences at a DeSoto Pre-K program is being blamed on the flu.
Twenty-two students missed school at Amber Terrace Discovery & Design Early Childhood Academy on Monday because of flu-like symptoms. On Tuesday, the number spiked to 64. On Wednesday, 63 students were absent with possible flu.
"It's run through about 15 percent of our campus. We are aware of it, we are monitoring it very closely," said Beth Trimble, spokeswoman for the DeSoto Independent School District.
Custodial crews have been working around the clock since Monday night, thoroughly scrubbing the school to keep the virus from spreading.
"We've sent crews over during the day. We have additional staff that are over there wiping down surfaces all day long, just trying to really contain it at this point," Trimble said.
The school sent a letter to parents Wednesday with tips on how to protect their children and keep them from spreading the flu. Trimble said fighting the virus in a school made up of nearly 400 four-year-olds is especially hard.
"Sometimes these kids are bringing it from home and we're containing it at school. Help us out. Make sure your child is sneezing into the corner of their arm, using hand-sanitizer, not sharing drinks, not sharing food, utensils, that sort of thing," Trimble said. "All that can help contain it, so that we can keep the healthy kids healthy and make sure the kids that do have it get well and can come back to school."
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DeSoto ISD and the Dallas County Health and Human Services are monitoring the situation. The number of absent students is expected to stabilize over the next few days.
Crews will continue their thorough cleanings through the weekend. If the situation worsens the district would have to decide whether to close the school temporarily.
"Keep your child at home if they are sick," Trimble said. "In addition, we want to make sure that if they are not fever free, they have to be fever free 24-hours before they can return."