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Fountain Lake School District in Hot Springs has canceled classes for the second time in two weeks because of an unusually high number of student absences due to illness.

Classes were canceled Thursday and Friday and will not resume until March 25, the Monday following spring break.

Students will be utilizing Alternative Methods of Instruction, or AMI, and Google classrooms.

"It is our hope that this extended period of separation will end this terrible bout of illness that has substantially impacted our ability to effectively have class. We want everyone well and eager to have a strong finish after spring break," Stephen Campbell, the school's director of instructional services and federal programs coordinator, said Thursday.

Over 200 students were absent on Wednesday.

By the end of the day Wednesday, Campbell said administration knew that almost 25 staff members would be missing Thursday due to their own illness or having sick children.

The district was also closed on March 1 for illnesses, primarily streptococcal pharyngitis, or strep throat, and the flu.

The Cossatot School District and Magnolia School District were closed this week due to illness, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previously reported.

According to the most recent weekly flu report from the state Department of Health, since Sept. 30, 2018, over 26,000 positive influenza tests have been reported to the agency's online database by health care providers. For the week that ended last Saturday, 68 counties reported influenza cases. The majority of reports came from Pulaski, Sebastian, Lonoke, White, Washington, Faulkner, Benton, Garland, Clark, Saline, Randolph, Logan, and Lawrence counties.

The average school absenteeism rate last week was 6.9 percent among public schools. As of Tuesday, the state Department of Health was aware that 23 schools closed briefly due to the flu.

Ten counties, including Garland County, have had a 10 percent or higher increase in student absenteeism rate from the week ending last Saturday.

The district's previous closing saw a concentration of absences in the elementary school, but that was not the case this time, Campbell said.

"The illnesses are pretty evenly spread through all of our buildings at this time. We believe that the best opportunity for this to end is to stop the spread," he said.

The district plans to use disinfectant "foggers" to sanitize the buildings, desks, chairs, and all other surfaces of the schools this weekend. These efforts will be repeated the weekend before students return from spring break, March 23-24.

"We encourage our students to enjoy spring break, to rest and recuperate, and to come back ready to strongly finish the school year," said Campbell.


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Archived Comments

  • 0boxerssuddenlinknet
    March 15, 2019 at 5:20 p.m.

    seems like this would be a great time to try to boost your immune system via high dose vitamin C
    you cannot take too much.

  • BobfromMarion
    March 17, 2019 at 1:18 a.m.


    Agree with the suggestion to take extra vitamin C. Vitamin C can be taken in pill form. I believe it is more effective if it is taken as food: apples,oranges, grapes, tomatoes, potatoes, etc. first and then supplement with Vitamin C tablets if desired.

    Taking cinnamon capsules also boosts immunity. Making the best food choices helps build immunity or at least help the person recover from a viral or bacterial infection with fewer unwanted symptoms.

    Too many children and teens live on almost exclusively fast foods and don't have the body defenses to keep from getting sick or if they do get sick recover more quickly. Some children and teens rarely eat fruit or drink fruit juices. It is no wonder that when they do get infected from bacteria or a virus that they get as sick as they do.

    From what I have read, good nutrition won't greatly reduce the rate of people getting sick, but good nutrition does aid in the recovery from illness significantly.