Flu outbreak ‘shuts down’ school
A BRISBANE primary school will effectively close on Friday after an "extraordinary outbreak" of the flu, which has struck down almost one-third of its student population.
Middle Park State School in the city's southwest on Thursday urged parents not to send their children to school after 182 children and 15 staff members were absent because of the flu.
In a letter to parents, principal Anne Kitchin described the situation as an "extraordinary outbreak".
"The Health Department has stressed the importance of keeping students home who have any influenza-like symptoms and their absence should be continued until they have no influenza-like symptoms," she said.
"We urge parents to keep all students home tomorrow, Friday, 3 August."
Ms Kitchin said a cleaning team was carrying out additional shifts and skeleton staff would be at the school on Friday if parents were unable to find alternative care for their children.
The school has about 600 students according to its website, meaning nearly one-third of its student population are absent with the flu.
Ms Kitchin said the outbreak included both influzena A and B strains.
A Year 6 technology day planned for the school had also been cancelled "due to exceptional health issues", the school confirmed on its Facebook page.
An Education Department spokesman confirmed a large number of staff and students had become unwell in a suspected flu outbreak.
"Parents and caregivers have been informed of the situation," he said
"The school is taking additional preventative and precautionary measures to assist in managing this situation and will conduct additional hygienic cleaning of school premises over the coming days."
Metro South Hospital and Health Service public health physician Kari Jarvinen said he was unable to comment about specific schools, but he was aware of an outbreak of influenza at a primary school with a "significantly large" number of staff and students affected.
"We have been working very closely with them," he said.
"We note that a big challenge that they are facing is children who are unwell coming to school, or parents bringing sick kids to school.
"So we really want to emphasis, not just for this school, but generally if you are sick or your children are sick you need to stay home."