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Brooke Middle School closes with nearly 25 percent of students out sick

WELLSBURG — Illness among a large number of students and staff led Brooke Middle School to be closed on Friday.

Stephanie Zimmer, spokesperson for Brooke County Schools, said about 23.5 percent of the school’s pupils were absent Thursday and a large number of staff indicated they would not be coming in on Friday.

Employees who weren’t ill were instructed to report to work while custodians and maintenance staff were charged with cleaning and sanitizing the building.

Zimmer said the situation, including concerns about an adequate number of staff to supervise pupils who showed up, led to the decision to close.

She said the school’s student body is one of the largest in the county, but the incidence of illness at other Brooke County schools is being monitored.

She said about 16 percent of Brooke County students at the school district’s five other schools were absent Friday.

Parents and guardians are advised to watch for notices of future closings through local media, the school’s phone messaging system and its new app.

The app can be downloaded by texting 81010 @bcsbruins or entering the code at the bcsbruins link on the school district’s website at www.remind.com/join.

Zimmer noted five confirmed influenza cases have been reported in the Northern Panhandle but added the closing was spurred not only by absences attributed to the flu but also bronchitis, pneumonia, sinusitis and a stomach virus.

“There are several things going around,” she said.

To deter a spread of the flu and other disease-causing bacteria, school officials are referring parents and others to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Center’s website at cdc.gov/flu/prevent/prevention.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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