CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Monday is a "flu day" for one Central Jersey school district hard hit by the illness.

Clinton Township Public Schools took the unusual step of creating a four day weekend by also cancelling classes and after school activities last Friday after a large number of recent absences due to respiratory/flu and gastrointestinal illnesses, according to a message on the district website.

The Hunterdon County district is made up of three elementary schools and a middle school.

In a message to the district, superintendent Michael Cone said students are also being sent to school before fully recovering from the flu which Cone said puts themselves and others at risk.

"We cannot overemphasize the importance of keeping a sick child home. Anyone with a fever must be 'fever free,' without using fever reducing medications, for a full 24 hours. The spread of illness through exposure has become a major concern for both students and staff," Cone wrote.

The decision to cancel came after discussions with the district physician, the County offices and the state Department of Health, according to Cone, who said the state did not recommend closing.

The district also said it would "deep clean and disinfect" all schools during the time off.

"We apologize to our students and families if this causes any inconvenience, but the health of our students is our number priority," read the message.

The risk of flu is high, according to the state Department of Health, with over 1,100 confirmed cases of Influenza A H1N1 and H3N2 as of January 19. One fatal case of pediatric flu was reported in Central Jersey.

The state strongly urges getting a flu shot, washing or disinfecting your hands frequently, covering any coughs and sneezes, stay home and call your health care provider if you are sick (especially with a fever).

According to the CDC, symptoms of the flu include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills, although not everyone with the flu gets fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

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