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MATTHEWS, N.C. - A Christian school in North Carolina was closed Thursday and Friday after officials said more than 160 students called out sick Tuesday.
A school administrator at Carmel Christian School in Matthews said the cancellation was the first in school history prompted by a flu-like outbreak.
"That's horrible,” said Tammy Corsino, who lives nearby. “That’s a large amount of children.”
NO SCHOOL | Carmel Christian School in Matthews is closed tomorrow and Friday. School officials decided to cancel classes after more than 160 students were out sick yesterday with flu like symptoms.— Stephanie Tinoco (@STinocoWSOC9) January 11, 2018
Students to return on Tuesday after MLK Holiday. @wsoctv pic.twitter.com/qrMo99FPZQ
Administrators hope the long weekend will allow sick students extra time to recover and prevent healthy students from being exposed to the flu. Students are already off Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, so they won’t return to school until Tuesday.
“Safeness is the way to go when it comes down to kids,” said Albert Corsino, who lives nearby. “Wouldn't want that to spread more."
School officials are going to great lengths to disinfect the campus. They hired contractors to use a disinfecting misting machine that is often used in hospitals on Thursday to sanitize every hallway, bathroom and classroom, in addition to wiping down every surface.
“That is a good school, a good decision,” Tammy Corsino said.
Experts have said this flu season is the worst in years, with nearly double the amount of cases nationwide compared to last year.
Already, 20 people in North Carolina have died from the flu.
“Since we got the flu shot, I feel pretty safe,” Tammy Corsino said.
The state will release its updated flu report Thursday.