MELISSA BLOCK, host:
Across the country today, more than 300 schools in 19 states were closed because of H1N1 outbreaks.
NPR's David Schaper reports from one high school in the Chicago suburb of St. Charles.
DAVID SCHAPER: You'd expect a high school to be quite a lively place on a Friday afternoon, especially with a big crosstown rivalry football game that had been scheduled for tonight. But all is quiet here at St. Charles East, where the school has been closed since Wednesday. Superintendent Don Schlomann says problems began Monday morning when more than 600 students stayed home sick. Throughout the day, he says, scores more were sent home.
Mr. DON SCHLOMANN (School District Superintendent): And by the end of Tuesday, we were at 972 absences at the school, so nearly closing in on a thousand. So, in math terms, the slope was not a positive one for us.
SCHAPER: That's 45 percent of 2,200 students at St. Charles East out sick. So, with projects coming due and big exams scheduled, and contrary to the advice from the county health department, Schlomann decided to shut down East for the remainder of the week.
Mr. SCHLOMANN: As I told somebody, they don't teach you those decisions at superintendent school.
SCHAPER: St. Charles East is the only school in the area that had to close. Schlomann thinks it might be related to homecoming activities last week.
Mr. SCHLOMANN: They were together every day pretty much in some sort of pep assembly, or they had a volleyball games or whatever. Add onto that, a student dance with 1,400 students in a gymnasium, and you have a lot of capacity to transmit germs very easily.
SCHAPER: Schlomann says only about a third of students still reported feeling sick yesterday. And he suspects the number has dropped again today. So, classes will resume Monday. Extracurricular activities resume this weekend, including that football game against rival St. Charles North. And swine flu vaccines have arrived and will be available here Monday.
David Schaper, NPR News in St. Charles, Illinois.
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