Dade Schools Superintendent Dr. Jan Harris announced this afternoon that all county schools will close Thursday and Friday because of the current epidemic of flu. Staffers will work Thursday but students are not due back in class until Monday.
Dr. Harris reported that attendance was down today to 79.4 percent systemwide and only 68 percent at Dade Middle School, which seems to be hardest hit. Teachers are out sick, too, she said, about 22 systemwide. Furthermore, she said, bus routes had already been doubled up because of drivers down for the count. "We were fearful we wouldn't be able to run the buses tomorrow," she said.
Dr. Harris said absences had been mounting all week while her office monitored the situation and hoped it would improve. When it worsened instead, she made the decision to close the schools for the rest of week and reconcile the calendar with makeup days later on. "We'll figure it out," she said.
The superintendent said neighboring systems had closed their schools this year because of the bad cold/flu season, but she could not recall an example in previous school years. "It's pretty rare," she said.