Nearly 90 Immaculate Conception School students were out sick Feb. 24 due to flu-like symptoms, causing the principal to cancel classes for the remainder of the week.
In an interview with The Catholic Review, principal Madeline Meaney said about seven faculty members also fell ill, creating a situation where she needed to think about the health of others.
“We truly care for our students and faculty and this was the right thing to do,” Ms. Meaney said.
As principal, Ms. Meaney stands outside her school each morning greeting children as they arrive. She began to notice a trend leading up to Feb. 24.
“The car line was getting smaller and smaller,” she said. “The nurse’s office has been a busy place.”
Ms. Meaney said healthy teachers did report for work Feb. 25, but about seven were out sick.
She said faculty members would be using the time to finish student progress reports and have meetings. She added a cleaning company was called to disinfect the building.
A letter to parents notifying them of the closing stated that an annual Immaculate School Gala and Auction scheduled for Feb. 28 would still be held as planned.
Ms. Meaney said she has avoided getting the flu herself and will seek a shot soon. It also has prompted her to encourage parents to get their children vaccinated.
“I think this was a lesson learned,” she said.
The flu has ravaged the area, causing Baltimore City officials to send out an alert. Many schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore have seen a rise in sick-related absences.
The Catholic High School of Baltimore had more than 50 students out sick in mid-February due to the flu.