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Emery District closes Cleveland Elementary due to illnesses

The Emery County School District has made the decision to close Cleveland Elementary School until Monday Oct. 19.

The school had nearly 50 percent student absenteeism Monday and Tuesday due to student illness. The decision to close it for a few days took place on Tuesday afternoon.

Cleveland Elementary School is a small school with a student population of 187 students, located in north central Emery County.

The illnesses being reported are varied and are not all related to H1N1 virus. The local health department is also working with community and church leaders to curtail community and church related activities involving children who attend Cleveland Elementary School for the next several days.

The school district has also asked parents to keep children home during the school closure and to curtail activities that allow students to congregate with friends or in groups.

While the Center for Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend school closure to control the spread of the flu (the idea being that it is better to keep healthy kids in school and have sick kids stay home), the school district said in a release that it feels the rate of illness at the school is disrupting education and that it would be better to close for a few days to allow students to heal.

While other schools are not currently experiencing the same rate of illness that Cleveland Elementary has seen, the district, in consultation with the Southeastern Utah Health Department, will assess the need to close schools on a school-by-school basis. The district is also advising their schools to be cooperative and flexible with students and parents with regard to providing homework and with attendance policies during this flu season.

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