Hundreds of students in the Shakopee school district called in sick Monday with the flu or flu-like illnesses.
More than 300 students at West Middle School were absent due to flu-related illnesses or flu-like symptoms, according to a notice posted on the district’s website. That is about 28% of the student body of 1,165.
Another 100 students were out ill with flu-related illnesses at Sun Path Elementary, the district said.
Sun Path has an enrollment of 593 students.
School districts are required to contact the Minnesota Department of Health when 5% of the student body is absent and reporting flu and flu-like symptoms.
“As always, we encourage parents and guardians to keep their students home if they are exhibiting flu-related symptoms,” said Superintendent Mike Redmond. “We are taking the necessary precautions, and will continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate action, as needed.”
The most recent data from the Minnesota Department of Health through Dec. 7 show that there have been 55 flu outbreaks in schools across the state for the season.
The data also shows that from Sept. 29 through Dec. 7 there have been 176 people admitted to hospitals with influenza. Of those 132 have been in the metro area, the department data showed.
That labels the state’s flu outbreak as “regional,” which is the fourth of five levels of flu outbreak severity. The most severe level is “widespread.”
Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache and chills, the health department said.
“Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine each year,” the department said on its Facebook page. “Flu activity is picking up in Minnesota. It’s not too late to get vaccinated.”