December 7, 2012
St. Anne's-Belfield Upper School was closed Friday, because a third of the students were sick. Most of them had symptoms of the flu.
"The important thing was to break the cycle," said Michael Waylett, the Associate Head of the school. "Which is why we thought it was important to not have school."
About 50 students stayed home or left school due to sickness on Monday and Tuesday. By Wednesday that number increased to 80 students, plus some faculty members. By Thursday school officials say the numbers were significantly higher for the Upper School. The illnesses were more limited in the Lower School and Middle School.
School officials say that housekeeping staff has started to thoroughly clean all of the buildings at the Upper School.
Elizabeth Beasley, with the Virginia Department of Health says it's not just the school. Several cases of the flu are being reported across Charlottesville.
But with so many people affected and exposed, in this case, all it takes is one sneeze.
"You get a bunch of people together," said Beasley, "and influenza is one of those respiratory illnesses that spreads really easily."
Health officials recommend staying home if you have the flu. And if you have not yet received a flu shot, it's not too late.