Independence school closes for two days to clean, stop spread of flu

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- More students and teachers sick with the flu are causing one school to close for the day so that staff and volunteers can disinfect their building.

Administrators are taking the steps at Center Place Restoration School, near North River Bend Boulevard and West Waldo Avenue.

The 180 kids from preschool through 12th grade are getting an extended break while their building is cleaned from top to bottom.

"Obviously kids are going to be touching things all over, so getting it all cleaned up and done in one setting at night is difficult to do," said Dan Schoenemann, school administrator. "We just decided to take the day and we’ve got staff and volunteers coming in to help, under the supervision of our nurse and custodian."

Recently attendance has been dropping significantly at the church-based school, with only about 80 percent of students showing up for class.

Teachers also have been calling in sick after coming down with the flu.

The school has two scheduled days off, Thursday and Friday. And with Presidents' Day on Monday, the administrator decided this would be a good opportunity to shut down and disinfect, giving staff and students extended time away from what may be a highly contagious environment.

"The way we have our schedule, we don’t see each other much, but we all use the same areas," said Jenna Davis, a middle school English teacher. "We all touch the same handrails, we use the same bathrooms, eat in the same lunchroom. So the germs are there, then they are being passed around."

There also is a church sanctuary that is being disinfected.

It's not the first time the school has taken steps to prevent the flu from spreading.

And in previous years, the Schoenemann says disinfecting has made a difference in limiting how many children and teachers get sick.

With preschoolers through teenagers all in the same building, the school has seen the infection cycle through the age groups and spread back to where it started. It's hoped the disinfection and time away now, may finally slow down the sickness.