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Flu closes private elementary school in Twin Cities

Forum News Service MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn. -- An outbreak of influenza or related symptoms among younger students at the Convent of the Visitation School in Mendota Heights has prompted the Lower School to shut down for the rest of this week. Scho...

Forum News Service

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn. -- An outbreak of influenza or related symptoms among younger students at the Convent of the Visitation School in Mendota Heights has prompted the Lower School to shut down for the rest of this week.

School officials are giving the approximately 160 kids in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade Thursday and Friday off as a way to curtail the spread of germs and allow staff at the private Catholic school to sanitize the building, said Jennifer Arriola, communications manager.

Classes are still in session this week for middle school and high school students, who will begin their Christmas vacation after Friday.

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Wednesday’s decision was made after the lower grades saw a spike of students missing school, she said.

“We’re a unique community because we have both young students there and 90-year-old nuns living in the same building,” she said. “So we made the decision to close the school to protect our entire community.”

The week ending Dec. 6 saw 65 influenza cases requiring hospitalization in Minnesota, compared with 15 during the same week last year, according to Minnesota Health Department data.

It was the highest number of cases for that week compared with any of the previous five years, the health department said.

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