Flu outbreak forces Pflugerville school to undergo deep clean

Employees at Concordia High School help clean tables in the cafeteria after many of their students came down with the flu or flu-like symptoms. (KXAN Photo/ Alyssa Goard).
Employees at Concordia High School help clean tables in the cafeteria after many of their students came down with the flu or flu-like symptoms. (KXAN Photo/ Alyssa Goard).

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — Teachers and administrators at Concordia High School spent all day Tuesday disinfecting classrooms and campus buildings.

The school’s principal David Mueller said the campus was “overrun” with students who had flu and flu-like symptoms, with around 30 percent of the student body of 121 out sick. Mueller said he decided to close school for a week due to the number of absences.

“It’s not a perfect decision because there isn’t one in this case, the flu is still not over there’s still no guarantee that we won’t see it again later,” explained Mueller of his decision.

Mueller added that the school hasn’t yet decided how the missed days of school will be made up, that’s up fro discussion by the school board in February. Mueller noted he had another teacher go home sick on Tuesday.

The closure allows the school to undergo a deep clean and will allow students and their families time to get rid of the viruses they’re coping with.

Floors, tables, desks, school buses and more will be cleaned. Monday night, the custodial crew deep cleaned the cafeteria. Wednesday the school will bring in disinfectant foggers to clean the air. Then on Friday, everything will be wiped down.

“Staff has jumped in on this as well and everyone is concerned with trying to get campus as clean as possible,” Mueller said.

Teachers like Kendalin Burns volunteered their time to help clean common areas. She said one of the advantages of working at a smaller school is they know many of the areas kids are likely to go and need the most cleaning.

“It’s very much a family here, and if that means cleaning one day, then that’s what it is,” Burns said. She noted that on Monday, only 12 of her 27 students were well enough to attend class. Two of those students had to go to the hospital and one had a fever of 104 degrees.

Burns said her students have already been contacting her about how they’ll make up the missed school work, but she notes some of them need to be reminded how to prevent germs from spreading.

“High schoolers, they kind of go back to kindergarten days sometimes with how clean they can be so we’re just being extra careful,” Burns laughed.

Classes are expected to pick back up again Monday, Feb, 5. Practices for on-campus activities are set to continue taking place as long as all the participants are healthy. As long as students are fever free for 24 hours, they will be allowed to practice their team sports.

But the school will have to reschedule its winter formal, which was set for Friday.

The school says it is doing all it can to remind students and families about the importance of sleep, hand washing, elbow bumps instead of handshaking, not sharing drinks, sneeze protocol and the expectation that you’ll remain home if you have a fever.

Travis County health officials say 24 people have died from the flu this season.


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