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Classes resume at West Middle after possible flu outbreak

Classes were back in session on Monday at West Collierville Middle School after the campus was closed last week due to an apparent influenza outbreak.

District officials decided to close the school last Thursday and Friday after three days of “increasing student absenteeism due to flu or flu-like symptoms.” 

“All WMCS students and school staff should remain at home,” Chief of Staff Jeff Jones wrote in a Jan. 29 statement. “After thorough consideration of attendance trends for both students and teachers and the number of unfilled substitute teacher requests at the school.”

The closure was expected to provide some protection to students from potential flu exposure. 

The district’s facilities services providers worked to disinfect surfaces throughout the building. 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released data from the second week of the 2020 influenza season.

The FluView report, which includes data for the week ending Jan. 11, indicates that “influenza activity remains high, but severity is not considered high at this point in the season.”

A total of 8,633 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations were reported by FluSurv-NET sites between Oct. 1, 2019 and Jan. 25, 2020; 5,173 (59.9 percent) were associated with influenza A virus, 3,401 (39.4 percent) with influenza B virus, 27 (0.3 percent) with influenza A virus and influenza B virus co-infection.According to the Tennessee Department of Health, there were 12,027 total regional patients with influenza in Shelby County from Jan. 19-25, which is a higher number than the rest of the state. 

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