ASHE COUNTY — After 330 students across the county were out sick with influenza-like illnesses last week, attendance numbers appeared normal Monday, Feb. 11, according to Ashe County Superintendent Phyllis Yates.
Yates said only 46 students were absent from Ashe County Middle School Feb. 11. More than 100 students had been out sick from the middle school late last week. In addition, five students were absent from the Ashe Early College, 52 students were absent from Blue Ridge Elementary School, 64 students were absent from Mountain View Elementary School, 49 students were absent from Westwood Elementary School and 20 students were absent from the Ashe Early Learning Center. These numbers were recorded as of 10 a.m. Feb. 11.
As for Ashe County High School, absences are measured by periods, and 100 periods were missed Feb. 11, according to Yates. Yates said 100 periods is a normal number of absences for this time of year.
School was canceled Friday, Feb. 8 due to high numbers of students and faculty with the flu. During the three-day weekend, the ACS maintenance staff gave the schools a "deep clean," according to Yates. In addition, Ashe also received some help from outside the county.
Caldwell County Schools Superintendent Donald Phipps contacted ACS and offered additional new disinfecting equipment, according to Yates.
Yates said the fogging equipment was used in addition to the deep cleaning, taking just seven minutes per classroom. Additionally, Chuck Bristle, Ashe County Middle School parent and owner of Jo Lynn Enterprises, contributed professional cleaning equipment and an air purification system to ACMS. The middle school was the school most impacted by the flu virus, according to ACS.
Yates added that the Ashe County Health Department was pleased with the action ACS has taken. She said that ACS has no plans to close schools due to illness again at this time.
"We feel like we've taken every step," Yates said. "The actual flu germ itself lives for just 24 hours. I don't think anything could be left. We've done everything that I can think to do on our end."