School closed at North Valley Academy due to flu, stomach bugs

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GOODING — North Valley Academy in Gooding is closed Thursday and Friday due to many students and employees with flu-like symptoms and stomach bugs.

Recently, anywhere from 12 to 20 percent of the student body has been absent, school principal Jeff Klamm said. Many staff members have been sick, too.

“We’ve been utilizing all the subs we can find,” he said. And “coming to school sick is not best for students’ education.”

With five or six students absent in every class, “you have a lot of re-teaching to do,” Klamm said, adding it’s not an effective use of time.

Officials at the public charter school — with 235 students in kindergarten through 12th grades — made the decision to cancel school for two days.

A cleaning crew is working Thursday to clean every classroom and the school’s bus company is cleaning school buses. The school sent home tips for parents on how to help their children recover and get healthy, Klamm said.

North Valley Academy’s closure is the latest in a string of illnesses affecting Magic Valley school campuses and communities. Idaho public health officials are worried about a particularly severe influenza season so far, with the most deaths reported in seven years.

In Camas County, the school reopened Monday after a flu outbreak prompted a two-day closure. Whooping cough cases have been confirmed within the last month in Twin Falls, Kimberly and Minidoka County schools, although none have closed.

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