School closes due to flu outbreak

October 8, 2009 (CHICAGO) The principal at Francis Parker says the number of cases there spiked to 100 over the past two days, but there are no confirmed cases of H1N1 flu.

The Francis Parker soccer team takes on the team from the rival Chicago Lab School on Friday evening. It is a heated competition but it will be the last school activity here for the next four days. Students and parents learned Thursday afternoon the school would be closed on Friday.

"Any disease outbreak you worry about your kids getting sick. And obviously most of the flu cases this season have been pretty mild. But a few of them have been worse. So I think it's just sensible," said Charles Colsky, parent.

The private school has students from pre-kindergarten through high school grades. Friday was originally planned to be an all school celebration called County Fair that's now postponed.

"Everybody's a little disappointed. It's hard not to be but at the same time I totally support the decision. What other decision could you possibly make," said Brian Study, parent.

The principal explained in a note to parents, faculty and staff the number of flu cases in the upper school, in particular, has spiked to 100 students.

"In K-8, there have been only a few children absent (about 10 in total). A direct consultation with a doctor at the Illinois Board of Health yielded advice that we should avoid any activity that mingles older and younger students," said Dan Frank, principal, Francis W. Parker School.

No one has confirmed the flu cases are the H1N1 virus, but experts say the standard seasonal virus has yet to arrive.

"That's not yet out there, at least not based upon the data that the CDC is gathering. So if you've got the flu, it's probably H1N1," said Dr. Steven Krug, Children's Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Krug said his only concern about a school closing because of the flu is that parents might be overly alarmed. He said most people should treat the H1N1 virus just like any case of the normal flu.

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