SALAMANCA, N.Y. (WIVB) – All schools in Salamanca were closed Monday for deep cleaning after that district was hit particularly hard by the flu.
Students, staff, and other community members were told to stay out of the school buildings and off school campuses, while members of the Salamanca City Central School District’s Buildings and Grounds crews worked with substitute custodians called into help give all of the buildings a good, deep cleaning.
Salamanca City Central School District Superintendent Robert Breidenstein told News 4 it was “all hands on deck” for that cleaning effort, sanitizing classrooms and common areas, especially.
Breidenstein explained that the crews had a well-coordinated plan working front to back in the school buildings, hitting the door knobs, computer mouses, desks and chairs, among other things, with a state-approved chemical meant to wipe out viruses like the flu.
The superintendent says district leaders had been monitoring student and staff attendance over the last week or so and noticed a gradual increase in absences due to flu.
The decision was made Saturday to close the schools for Monday to try to get ahead of the virus.
People News 4 talked to in Salamanca Monday said the district made the right call.
“Honestly, probably,” said one Salamanca resident Alisha Stephens, “so the kids aren’t getting sick.”
“Hopefully they can clean up the schools and make it safer for the kids to do come back,” said Frank Lyons, a Great Valley resident working in Salamanca.
When asked whether Lyons had any worries about his family getting sick this year, since the flu season has been particularly rough, he replied, “Nobody in my family so far has caught it, but I’m just knocking on wood.”
This year’s flu shot hasn’t been particularly effective in preventing a lot of cases of the flu, but it has been shown to reduce the severity of symptoms for people who get the virus.
Because some of the custodial staff for the Salamanca district is out with the flu right now, the district has brought in some substitute custodians to help with the deep cleaning efforts.
The superintendent said the crews had been making good progress throughout the day Monday, and the school buildings were set to reopen as scheduled at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
In the meantime, all school activities were cancelled.