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‘Help to stop the spread:’ Mother of Good Counsel School in Milwaukee closed due to flu

MILWAUKEE -- Mother of Good Counsel School in Milwaukee will be closed for the remainder of the week due to an increasing number of children and staff becoming ill. Officials are shutting down the school so it can be cleaned, and so kids can recover.

There were signs on the doors at the school on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

"I imagine it must be an incredible challenge. I know they had a half-day (Thursday) anyways," Molly Lieberman said.

School officials said 30 percent of students were absent on Tuesday, Feb. 6 due to the flu.

"For us to have 64 sick children, in addition to several faculty/staff members, makes it very difficult for us to carry on with the business of school. Please know that it is not easy to make this decision. I know how difficult it is for working parents, but we have to do what is in the best interest of all," said Principal Regina Shaw in a letter to parents.

Lieberman, a violin instructor, was turned away Wednesday.

"Couldn't get a hold of anyone at the school because, of course, they are not here,so I figured I'd drive over to check -- but sure enough -- no violin lessons for the kids today," Lieberman said.

Mother of Good Counsel School

Justin Holston said he sympathizes with parents because he's been there as a father of two.

Molly Lieberman

"Now you have to have one parent stay home and that's unfortunate because if the kids are at home and the parent is at home somebody is missing work. That affects everybody," Holston said.

He said he wasn't surprised by the decision to close the school.

"It's no fun for the kids. It's no fun for the parent," he said.

Meanwhile, Lieberman said she's thankful for her own health.

"I work with a lot of children so I wash my hands constantly," she said.

Mother of Good Counsel School

Mother of Good Counsel School

Below is the complete text of the letter sent home to parents:

Dear MGC Parents/Guardians:

As you know from earlier correspondence, MGC has been hit very hard by this year’s flu virus. We had very few sick children through last Friday, but as of yesterday everything changed. We had about 22% of our students out sick yesterday, and today we are at 30%. For us to have 64 sick children, in addition to several faculty/staff members, makes it very difficult for us to carry on with the business of “school.”

After talking to the Milwaukee Health Department yesterday and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee today, we have made the decision to close school for the remainder of this week. Tomorrow is a full day of school, and Thursday and Friday are both 11:30 dismissal days. We were scheduled for conferences on Thursday, and those will need to be rescheduled.

We will have people in here over the next few days to disinfect our building. That, plus the passage of time, should help to stop the spread of this nasty virus.

If, come Monday, your child has any symptoms, please keep them home from school. Call your child’s pediatrician as soon as your child exhibits any flu symptoms (cold, fever, headache, body aches, sore throat, stomach issues.) There is treatment available to lessen the severity of the symptoms and reduce the chances of secondary complications. The CDC is reporting that at least 53 children in this country have died from the flu in the past few weeks. This is clearly something to be taken seriously.

If your child is sick, he/she may not return to school until they are fever free for 24 hours – without having taken medication. This recommendation comes from the CDC and health department. They are also still recommending that everyone get the flu vaccine – it is not necessarily too late and even if you get the flu after receiving the vaccine, the symptoms seem to be less severe.

Please know that it is not easy to make this decision. I know how difficult it is for working parents, but we have to do what is in the best interest of all. For now, that means that Mother of Good Counsel School and its Extended Care Program (ECP) will be closed through Friday, February 9. We will resume classes on Monday, February 12.

We will be postponing next Tuesday’s Mardi Gras celebration until after Easter. Please know that I am doing what I believe is in the best interest of our children and praying for all those who are sick.

Faithfully,
Regina Shaw
Principal