On Thursday, concerned parents reached out to WAAY 31 after hearing about a high number of absences in the Florence City Schools system that could be related to the flu.
Florence City Schools Superintendent, Dr. Jimmy Shaw, said the elementary schools have a higher number of absences, but he said it varies elementary school to elementary school.
Shaw said roughly 14% to 15% of elementary school students have been absent. He said Florence High School's absence rate was 10% to 12%, but without confirmation from each student, it's hard to say if all the absences are flu related. Shaw said the number of absences have improved this week compared to last week.
Tony Roberts has one child at Forest Hills Elementary School and another at Florence High School. He said rumors have been swirling among parents about how bad the flu is, so his wife called Shaw to talk about it.
"He basically said that there was no way of confirming that the illnesses were due to the flu and that they were disinfecting, and that was as far as their concern went," said Roberts. "I feel like there is definitely a lack of communication between the school system and parents on this issue."
Roberts said he knows at least five students are sick and out of school from his son's classroom. Shaw said they have gotten some industrial strength cleaning supplies to clean the schools and rid them of germs, but Roberts said if the flu is really that bad or getting worse, they should close the schools for a few days.
"Right now, cleaning the schools daily isn't getting the job done, so let's look passed that and have the best interest of the children in mind," said Roberts.
Shaw said they are asking parents to keep their kids at home if they have a fever. Right now, there are no plans of closing schools because of the flu. He said they would consult with the county health department before taking that action.