Flu outbreak closes Anderson school for rest of week

Two siblings from Liberty Christian School in Anderson, Indiana, have accumulated a number of sick days in the 2017-2018 school year. (WISH Photo)

ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) — A small Christian school in Anderson is closing its doors for the rest of the week in response to a severe flu outbreak.

School leaders at Liberty Christian said about 20 percent of their high school and middle school students were sick, along with about half the teachers. Administrators made Thursday and Friday e-learning days, and the students will do their schoolwork from home online.

Meredith Contos-Brooks said three of her kids are Liberty Christian sophomores and they’ve spent time at home this winter with flu-related illnesses. The triplets are racking up a combined 16.5 sick days so far this year.

“I haven’t really been able to go to work at my office for several weeks. This flu is so nasty that you don’t want to leave your kids at home alone. They feel that bad,” Contos-Brooks said.

A total of 235 kids go to high school or middle school at Liberty Christian, and Superintendent Jay McCurry said about 50 are out sick. McCurry said a maintenance team spent 11 hours cleaning Tuesday and will keep cleaning Thursday and Friday.

The goal is to give sick students time to recover by Monday.

“I’ve never seen it this bad,” McCurry said. “We unapologetically believe in the power of healing prayer, but we’re going to pray with one hand holding a can of Lysol and the other hand with some vitamin C.”

Contos-Brooks, who said she got sick after her kids, said she supports the plan. Her children were already doing biology work from the living room Wednesday.

“I haven’t even been able to rely on grandparents to help because you don’t want to expose grandparents,” she said.

The e-learning days will count as regular school days. Students will not have to make the days up.

Liberty Christian also runs an elementary school in a separate building. McCurry said that school will stay open because only about 7 percent of the students are sick.