Phoenix school is closing for one week due to flu outbreak

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School closed as precaution

UNCUT: Flu forces closure of Phoenix school - County public health director Dr. Bob England talks about the closure of a Phoenix school due to a flu outbreak.

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PHOENIX -- A Phoenix elementary school is closing for a week after an apparent flu outbreak.

Lowell Elementary School "was experiencing a much higher than normal rate of absenteeism due to illness that looks like flu," according to Dr. Bob England, director of Maricopa Department of Public Health.

"We had about a 20 percent absentee rate across the school, but the highest rates were I believe in grades five and six where it was closer to 50 percent," said Sarah Bresnahan, spokeswoman for Phoenix Elementary School District No. 1.

Bresnahan said the normal absentee rate is well below 5 percent.

"After talking with school officials, we all agreed that as a precaution and to limit the further spread of illness, we would close the school until after the Memorial Day holiday," England said.

The school, which is located near South Third Avenue and Buckeye Road, will be closed until May 26.