Miami schools set to get more disinfectant foggers after flu cancels classes

MIAMI, Okla. – Schools across Oklahoma closed for sanitation as record numbers of students come down with the flu.

It’s not a snow day; it’s a sick day, and kids in the Miami School District are staying home while classrooms are being disinfected.

“My brother was sick not that long ago and everyone else is really sick in this house,” said Kinzie Perry, a Miami 7th grader.

Perry just got over the stomach flu herself and says there are absent students in every one of her classes.

46 staff members and 10% of the student body across the Miami School District were out on Tuesday.

By the end of the school day, that number was up to 14%, that’s about 60 to 70 students.

“You know, last week, it was predominantly at the elementary schools, but when we started seeing that spread throughout the district, and pretty consistently, we were anywhere between 12-16% absences at the sites [schools], you know, we knew this was a district-wide issue and we had to address it,” stated Jeremy Hogan, superintendent for Miami schools.

“This particular machine atomizes the disinfectant that we use and actually electrostatically charges so it will adhere to places that may not actually get sprayed if it wasn’t that way,” explained Martin Dow, Director of Maintenance.

The Miami School District is using Vital Oxide, a powerful, EPA-registered disinfectant that erases 99.999% of germs in just seven minutes. Right now, there is only one sprayer in the school’s arsenal, but that’s going to change.

“We’ve actually requisitioned the purchase of multiple machines so every site will have one, so during the cold and flu season, once a week we can go through there and use that machine and hopefully we can keep the spread of flu, or cold, or other sicknesses that our kids and our staff get,” said Hogan.

In the meantime, Perry is taking her own precautions.

“…Cover my mouth, wash your hands after eating and everything, cough with your elbow, into your elbow.”

Both the Quapaw and Miami school districts are closed Wednesday and Thursday, hoping to get classrooms clean and kids rested.

Sick days are similar to snow days for the Miami School District.

The state mandates Oklahoma schools to hit 1,080 hours.

Miami has enough banked time, however, that with school board approval, the school should not have to make these days up later.

Last week, Fairland and Wyandotte schools also closed over flu absences.