Austin ISD working to prevent flu spread

Cleaning crews are disinfecting AISD schools but there are no plans to close any campuses. (Photo: CDC / MGN Online)

New flu surveillance numbers show more new cases of influenza across Texas. "We're continuing to have high flu activity across Texas," said Dr. Jennifer Schuford, the infectious disease officer for the Texas Department of State Health Services.

That number includes school age kids -- last week more than a thousand Texas kids were confirmed with the virus. "There were no school outbreaks reported because no kids were in school so this week when all the kids go back, we're going to see probably more outbreaks," Dr. Schuford said.

That's what Austin ISD is starting to see, according to Tracy Spinner, an associate director of the district's health services. "We are seeing an increase in flu as compared to last year," she said. "We have about 12 campuses where we're seeing higher than average absentee rates." Right now, there is more flu activity around South Austin, but that could change.

Cleaning crews are disinfecting AISD schools but there are no plans to close any campuses, Spinner said. "We feel confident that the preventative measures that we're taking, including that deep clean, working with our housekeeping staff," she said. That has included some overtime for cleaning crews.

Public health experts like Spinner and Dr. Schuford say staying home if you or your children show symptoms is key -- with months left to go in the flu season. "We just can't let down our guard," said Dr. Schuford.

Both experts are urging a flu vaccine if you haven't had one and regular hand washing or using hand sanitizer -- a message we will continue to hear this flu season.

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