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Crookston schools take half-day off due to flu

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School officials in Crookston have decided to cancel a half-day of classes on Wednesday in response to a flu outbreak that led to 15 percent of students in the district being absent on Monday.

  The district's three schools had only been scheduled for a half-day Wednesday and were scheduled to be off both Thursday and Friday for parent-teacher conferences and a compensation day.

  Superintendent Wayne Gilman said the decision to cancel classes Wednesday was made to give sick students and teachers a little extra time to recover and to prevent the outbreak from spreading further among the district's more than 1,200 students.

  "I think I did what was best for everybody," Gilman said Tuesday, adding that local health officials confirmed the outbreak. "I want the staff to be healthy, and sometimes families do send kids to school with flu-like symptoms."

According to the most recent numbers from the Minnesota Department of Health, 215 schools reported having at least 5 percent of students absent or had three or more students in the same elementary classroom out with flu symptoms during the first week in October. The number was a sharp increase from the previous week.