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US school district halts in-person classes amid COVID, flu outbreaks

Data from the CDC shows upticks in hospital admissions, emergency room visits and positive COVID-19 tests across the U.S.
US school district halts in-person classes amid COVID, flu outbreaks
Posted at 1:21 PM, Aug 24, 2023

Within two weeks of the school year's start, a Kentucky district has halted in-person classes for the week due to a COVID-19, strep throat and flu outbreak.

This week, Lee County School District canceled Tuesday and Wednesday classes, shifted to remote learning on Thursday and Friday, and also suspended extracurricular activities due to staff and student illnesses.

"We’re seeing an increase in COVID-19 throughout the seven counties," Scott Lockard, the public health director for the Kentucky River District, told Scripps News Lexington. "In Lee County, the attendance is at that level where they felt they needed to make the call to dismiss classes the rest of the week," he continued.

SEE MORE: New COVID-19 variant could evade existing immunity, CDC says

With 897 students from Pre-K to grade 12, Lee County School District began classes on Aug. 9. However, Superintendent Earl Ray Schuler tells Scripps News that out of those 897, 150 were out sick on Aug. 18, and by Aug. 21, the number rose to 157, along with 14 staff members calling in sick.

"All buildings and buses [are] being sanitized, and all student activities for the remainder of the week were cancelled," said Schuler, adding that school will be back in session Monday.

While the typical flu season starts in October in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already started tracking down cases. During the week ending Aug. 12, around 677 people with confirmed flu symptoms had been hospitalized.

Earlier this month, the CDC warned about a potential "tripledemic" in the fall, in which RSV, the flu and COVID variants might spread together.

Additionally, data from the CDC is now showing upticks in hospital admissions, emergency room visits and positive COVID-19 tests across the U.S. in the third year of living with the highly contagious disease. The CDC says the week ending Aug. 12, there were 12,613 hospital admissions due to COVID-19. 


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