Flu season has arrived to our area and is having an impact on schools in both Mitchell and Yancey Counties. As many as ten percent of Mitchell County students were reported out of school last Friday due to illness, prompting officials to debate on whether or not to close schools. Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Morgan Houchard said that the school system has decided against that approach for the time being. Houchard said that the situation continues to be monitored and that all schools in the county have a school nurse and have been proactive in teaching students about the value of repeatedly washing their hands and covering their mouths when they cough. The Mitchell County Health Department and the Mitchell County School are working together to protect students and staff from the Flu. Monday December 17th free flu shots will be offered to all students and staff in the Mitchell County School System. The Health Department will administer the vaccinations in either shot or nasal mist form to anyone who wishes to have the vacation. A permission slip was sent home earlier this week with all of the students in the system for parental permission to receive the vaccinations.
In Yancey County the schools administration has been monitoring student absence rates this week because of the flu but have are no plans to close the schools. Mountain Heritage High School students will begin End of Course testing on Monday of next week and are currently in the process of reviewing for these tests. While absences have been high, they have not yet reached the level as was seen in the last flu epidemic a few years ago that so widely affected both staff and students. In an effort to help combat the spread of the flu, Yancey County Schools Middle School Health Center Staff and Yancey County School Nurses are partnering with the Yancey County Health Department to provide free Flu Shot Clinics for staff and students in each of the schools. It is the goal of Yancey County Schools to keep the students and staff as healthy as possible while meeting the academic requirements set by the state.