Flu outbreak closes Thorndale Independent School District

In the cold and drizzling rain, a woman stood outside carrying a green neon sign that said free lunches.

A man in a pickup truck stopped and asked, “What’s the catch?”

Susan Rose laughed and said no catch, Thorndale ISD canceled classes till Monday and the Pleasant Retreat United Methodist Church was handing out lunches to kids who won’t get school this week.

"We've got a number of people come by and not just the school kids but some local people," said Ken Pritchard, a member of the church. "They are getting hungry, you know how kids are, they'll eat you out of a home."

The district had 40 kids out sick with the flu Friday and by Monday afternoon they had 80. Superintendent Adam Ivy said closing the schools was a difficult decision to make but it was with student health in mind. 

"I’ve been in education for over 22 years and I’ve never been at a district that has to do this before,” Ivy said. "We just had to look at the likelihood that if we continue to go to school this week that it's going to get worse."
The custodial staff used a machine to disinfect surfaces in the buildings. Ivy said the crew is diligent about cleaning every day and was using the past two days to deep clean.

"It's our hope with these five days continuously off and with all the disinfecting we've done here, the hope is for this to run its course," said Ivy.

The district advises parents to leave their students at home if they are not well by Monday. Despite the school closure, sporting events for the high school students will continue Friday.