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Mekeel back in session after closing for illness

Mekeel back in session after closing for illness

Influenza cases have skyrocketed statewide and across the nation this year
Mekeel back in session after closing for illness
Mekeel Christian Academy in Scotia.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

SCOTIA — Mekeel Christian Academy students were back in class Tuesday, after the school was closed Monday due to teacher and student illnesses.

Teresa Dell, in the school's main office on Tuesday, said the school was "back in progress," after the building was disinfected Monday. She said enough teachers had called in sick that it was difficult for the school to cover classes; student illnesses were another factor in calling off classes Monday, she said.

"Please keep our teachers and students in your prayers, as many are ill," the school posted on its Facebook page Sunday night. "Please pray, too, that no one else catches the illnesses that are going around."

Monday's cancellation comes during a highly active flu season across the state. Flu has been widespread for the past two months, with at least 10 cases per 100,000 people reported in every county during the week ending Jan. 27. 

By press time Tuesday, Mekeel Head of School Chad Bowman had not returned a message seeking additional information about the decisions to close school Monday and open again Tuesday. 

While some district spokespeople on Tuesday said they have not seen an uptick in flu-related absences, some districts did say they have seen more student absences. Niskayuna spokesman Matt Leon said the district has seen more student absences, compared to the same period of last year, and in speaking with nurses and parents, "we know that some of this is attributable to the flu."

Niskayuna and other school districts said they are taking extra precautions in cleaning and disinfecting desks, water fountains, doorknobs and other areas that are regularly touched by students. In Saratoga schools, cases of sanitizing wipes have been distributed to buildings across the district; district staff are also testing a new cleaning machine that can disinfect six classrooms in 30 minutes, district spokeswoman Maura Manny said.

Districts also regularly provide parents with information on limiting illness, and educators reinforce healthy habits with students in class. 

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