GUNTER, Texas (KXAN) – A small school district in North Texas is shutting down for an entire week due to a widespread flu outbreak. The Gunter Independent School District, which operates three schools north of Dallas, says 150 students were absent on Tuesday.

On Wednesday morning, the district had 253 absences, which accounts for 27 percent of the district. Out of the 194 absences at the district’s elementary and middle school, 141 were either confirmed flu or flu-like symptoms.

The district is hiring a professional company to sanitize and disinfect all the buildings and buses along with a deep clean by the district’s custodial staff.

“We highly encourage students and families to take all necessary precautions to stop the spread of illness,” wrote Superintendent Jill Siler. “If you or your child have a cough, sore throat, fever or body aches, please stay at home and try to limit contact with other family members or anyone outside of your home.”

Last week, a private school in San Antonio closed for a day so its staff can conduct a “super clean” due to the flu. In December, Sunnyvale ISD, another district in North Texas, shuttered for two days due to the flu.

Most school districts in Central Texas KXAN spoke to said recent average attendance rates are around 95 percent. The districts say they’re seeing normal rates for flu cases. The Round Round Independent School District says the number of flu-like cases during the week of Dec. 21 was 459, whereas the number dropped to 201 reported cases the week of Jan. 12.

Parents are asked to keep students home if a child has a fever until they have gone 24 hours without a fever without the use of medication.

According to the CDC, a total of 20 children have died from the flu this season. 

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