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Flu Season: Snow day offers much needed break for sick students

Posted at 6:35 PM, Feb 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-09 19:35:08-05

Schools across the TODAY'S TMJ4 viewing area closed Friday due to snowfall. 

Tim Culver, Superintendent of the Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District, said the amount of snow and the timing of when it fell both impacts whether school districts decide to shut down for a snow day.

The snow that started falling Thursday night continued through the Friday morning commute. Culver said the ability of buses and parents to safely drive to area schools would have been impacted. 

"If the snow had ended at midnight and people had more time to clean it up, it might have been a different story," Culver said. 

Culver said area superintendents take part in an early-morning conference call to discuss their plans on a day when the weather might force a closure. Friday morning was no different. 

"You don’t want to be the only district that’s open, but you also don’t want to be the only district closed," he said. 

The extra day off comes during a nasty flu season. 

Schools that decided to close, including Milwaukee Public Schools, Shorewood Schools, Oak Creek-Franklin Schools, Menomonee Falls Schools, and Milwaukee's St. Joan Antida High School, said the closures were solely based on the weather and that the flu season did not factor into them. 

However, the three day weekend is a chance for students who might be struggling with the flu bug to get some extra rest. 

"We have several teachers and students that have had the flu, but not to the level of other places," said Paul Gessner, Head of School at St. Joan Antida. "I'm sure the extra day won't hurt."

Menomonee Falls School District spokesperson Megan Sheridan said the bulk of sick calls there happened before the holiday season. 

"Over the holidays our facilities crew did a thorough cleaning of all of our schools, disinfecting touch points to reduce germ spread. I think this preemptive action has helped temper the spread since the start of the year," Sheridan said via email. 

"The decision to close school Friday was purely based on the weather, as we haven’t hit a concerning threshold of absenteeism due to illness, but it certainly does help keep germs from spreading," Sheridan added.