After a surge in flu cases, an elementary school in Standish and a private school in Sanford canceled classes Monday.

The Edna Libby Elementary School in Standish will be closed Monday to all students to give workers more time to disinfect the building after district officials consulted with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sanford Christian Academy said in a Facebook post that school officials decided to close the school for the day Monday because “so many kids and teachers” had called out sick.

Paul Penna, superintendent of School Administrative District 6, announced the closure of the Standish school Sunday in a Facebook post.

“After consulting with the CDC this morning, the superintendent has decided to close Edna Libby Elementary School to all students Monday, Feb. 3,” the post said. “The maintenance department continues to do daily cleaning and disinfecting of the school; however, the number of students with influenza continues to rise.”

Penna said in an email Sunday evening that the number of sick students increased throughout last week, and by Friday the school reported that 35 percent of the student body had called out sick. There are 280 students enrolled at Edna Libby.


According to Penna, the Maine CDC recommends a three-day incubation period and closing the school on Monday will allow the school district to meet that standard.

“We are expecting to open on Tuesday, Feb. 4,” Penna wrote on Facebook. “The Superintendent hopes your family is well and apologizes for any inconvenience this closure may cause, but the health of our school community is paramount.”

In comments posted on Facebook, parents thanked the school district for taking steps to protect their children’s health. A few parents suggested that SAD 6 should close all its schools so that they can be properly disinfected.

“I can appreciate their concerns; however, to date only Edna Libby has reported an increase with confirmed flu influenza,” Penna said in the email. “We respect the decisions that parents/guardians make to ensure the health of their children. Nurses and principals will keep me informed about school attendance and I will respond appropriately if conditions change in any of the district’s schools.”

SAD 6 includes the towns of Standish, Buxton, Hollis and Limington.

Last month, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services said that influenza has been confirmed in all 16 Maine counties and is considered to be widespread. The state recommends that residents and visitors get vaccinated and take precautions such as washing hands and covering coughs to prevent its spread.


“Influenza is unpredictable and, in some cases, deadly,” Nirav D. Shah, director of the Maine CDC, said in a statement. “The most effective way to prevent the spread of influenza is to get vaccinated.”

According to the Maine CDC’s weekly influenza surveillance report – for the week ending Jan. 25 – more than 3,020 people have tested positive for the flu virus this season. Of that number, 199 people had to be hospitalized. The Maine CDC also reported on its website that there have been 10 influenza deaths this season in Maine.

Flu season typically begins in late September and runs through the end of May. There were 10,313 confirmed cases of influenza in Maine during the 2018-2019 flu season.

Symptoms may include a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches and fatigue.

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