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A number of teachers at Bellingrath Hills Elementary School in Central have fallen ill, sparking an automated message to parents Sunday night letting them know that it they decide to keep their kids home Monday the school will count it as an excused absence.

In an interview Sunday night, Superintendent Jason Fountain said the move is a precaution the Central school system opted for after consulting with the Louisiana Office of Public Health that allows concerned parents the option of avoiding school Monday.

“We just felt like it was the best thing to do to be up front and honest with the parents,” Fountain said.

The excused absences apply only to Bellingrath Hills, a school with prekindergarten and kindergarten classes, and not Central’s four other public schools. Otherwise, Bellingrath Hills will proceed as normal Monday with substitute and ancillary teachers covering classes for absent teachers, the superintendent said.

Fountain said teachers began calling in sick Thursday, when Central schools resumed after Christmas break, complaining of a variety of symptoms, not just flu - “It was all over the place,” he said - and teachers have continued calling in sick since. He said, though, it’s unclear how many will opt not to come to work Monday.

Fountain stressed that the teachers working Monday should be in good health, noting they are not supposed to show up until they’ve been without symptoms for 24 hours.