Students Aren't the Only Ones with the Flu in Cumberland County

By Brett Baldeck | 

The doors are locked and buildings sit vacant as Cumberland County Schools were closed Thursday. A ravaging flu outbreak has made life difficult not only for students, but administration as well.

"Just yesterday there was three administrators. We have a principal and assistant principal at our high school and then we have a principal at our elementary school and three of those five was sick," says Superintendent Glen Murphy.

The superintendent says closing school for the flu virus was a last resort. Attendance rates are normally at 95%. When those numbers started slipping Murphy knew action was needed.

"We have 1,004 students. We really stress attendance and when we start getting down in the low 90s I start getting concerned," says Superintendent Murphy.

Superintendent Murphy also enlisted the help of local doctors who all agree this is the earliest flu outbreak they can remember.

"We have closed in the past for the flu but generally in February. I went around and talked to doctors in our area. I visited each doctor's office because I wanted professional input too," says Superintendent Murphy.

While cleaning crews stay busy inside disinfecting each school, local pharmacies have picked up business. They say doctors are recommending the same medicine for all patients, Tamiflu.

"One in the family gets it and they have three children and everybody takes it as preventative measure to try not and get the flu so it has been a lot of Tamiflu," says Pharmacy Technician Debbie Lewis.

That sudden rush has just about left shelves bare.

"It has been allocated from our wholesaler so we are limited in what we can get now," says Lewis.

School administration, doctors and pharmacists hope the early start to this flu season isn't a sign of more sick times to come.

Superintendent Glen Murphy says school will remain closed Friday, but classes will resume as normal Monday.

He says he will continue to monitor the flu situation next week.

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