UPDATE: Elgin Public Schools will be closed Friday, January 26th and Monday, January 29th because of the flu virus.
ELGIN, OK (KSWO)- The flu is continuing to impact much of the country and is considered widespread in 49 states including Oklahoma. Some schools have been forced to cancel class to stop the virus from spreading.
Elgin school district is not closed yet, but plans to take measures to curb the outbreak if the number of students and teachers out because of the cold and flu continues to increase.
"We've had some sickness like we always have in January, but definitely some flu showing up," said Nate Meraz, Elgin Schools Superintendent. "So, we're watching it closely."
Meraz said despite monitoring the spike in flu, he and his staff are reminding students to be cautious around campus.
"Washing the hands, keeping your distance from others, covering your cough, covering your sneeze," said Meraz.
He said he's noticed the elementary school has struggled more than the middle and high schools with combating the virus.
"The younger aged children seem to share things more often, meaning hugs," said Meraz. "Maybe they're whipping their nose and handing the toy to somebody."
However, the only way for them to track flu cases is by looking at percentages of illness in the district.
"You might see 12 to 14 percent illness," said Meraz. "District-wide right now we're at 18 percent and so, it is a concern. We are watching it."
If that number increases to 25-percent the school we will consider shutting down for cleaning. That means the custodial staff will continue their cleaning routine while the schools are closed.
Meraz said he would be the one to make that decision and would consult with other superintendents before sending notices out.
Right now, he just warns parents about what to do if their child happens to catch the virus.
"Stay home," said Meraz. "Follow your doctor's orders. Make sure you follow them completely, don't try and come back too early. And if you have any inkling that your child is sick, play it safe. Keep them home."
Lawton Public Schools are also monitoring flu related cases and the number of student and staff absences. Officials from LPS encourage parents to keep their children home until they are fever free for 24 hours and to follow doctor's orders.