Flu closes Prospect School

Prospect School in remote northeastern Jackson County will close for the rest of the week because more than 30 percent of its students and teachers have come down with flu symptoms, according to Jackson County Health and Human Services.

About 69 of the school's 210 pupils and five of its 16 teachers had flu symptoms Monday.

That number burgeoned since Wednesday when only nine Prospect students had flu symptoms, according to a weekly count by the Southern Oregon Education Service District.

Prospect, the only school in the small Prospect School District, is the first campus in Jackson County this school year to close because of widespread flu symptoms. The school cannot obtain substitute teachers as readily as other districts in the county because of its rural location, Prospect Superintendent Don Alexander said.

The health department and the Southern Oregon Education Service District have been tracking flu symptoms at schools each week as part of their effort to monitor the spread of the new flu strain, the H1N1. It is unclear whether the flu cases are the H1N1, but that is the likelihood considering the fast spread and early arrival of the cases, officials said. Flu season typically doesn't begin until late fall or early winter.

— Paris Achen

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