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Granger Christian School closes after 30% of students call in sick with flu

Maintenance at Granger Christian School is using an electrostatic sanitizer and an air purifier to clean the school after a bunch of students came down with the flu this week // WSBT 22

One local school says flu has overrun the building.

Granger Christian School closed its doors Friday. There were just too many kids calling in sick.

If the number of kids who are absent reaches 20 percent the school has to report it to the county health department.

On Thursday Granger Christian School had nearly 30 percent of its students called in sick.

School leaders say they knew the best decision was to cancel Friday.

Normally the halls are filled with students. On Friday, the only people you saw at Granger Christian School were maintenance workers.

"We are taking this opportunity to go through and sanitize every surface," said August Kuehn, the head of maintenance for the school.

They're deep-cleaning the school, hoping that when students return the flu will be under control.

Principal Mark Wever says he knew they had to close.

"Our 6th grade has 24 kids. We started the school day with 11 and ended up with 5."

It's not just the students.

"We had several teachers that called in sick,” said Wever. “Some personally sick, some home with their children, and then even our subs were depleted due to sickness. So we literally couldn't cover each classroom with qualified personnel."

Maintenance is using an electrostatic sanitizer and an air purifier. They're hoping this cleaning is a bit of a reset for the school.

"We usually do something like this every summer and we do something similar every Christmas break, but this is very unusual to have to do this during a school semester,” said Kuehn.

Wever echoed his sentiment.

"I've been in education for 34 years. I've experienced closing schools for snow -- out in California for fires, but never for illness," said Wever.

Wever's planning to open the doors after this long President's Day weekend.

"We're hoping we have 100 percent of our student body back and our teachers, but we will see how the weekend goes."

WSBT 22 spoke with the St. Joseph County Health Department. Officials say they haven't had any other schools in the county close because of the flu. But they urge everyone to beware that this is still peak flu season. Wash your hands and stay at home if you're not feeling well.

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