NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KFSM) - Local school districts are taking precautions to try to keep the flu out of the classrooms, as students head back to school on Tuesday (Jan. 6).
The Springdale School District has been preparing for a potential outbreak of the virus since October.
"We give free flu shots at all of our schools and you don't have to participate, but well over 50 percent of our students did participate," said Rick Schaeffer, with Springdale Public Schools.
The Fayetteville School District also offered free flu shots.
"We've seen less flu cases in the recent years, because of the flu clinics we do," said Alan Wilbourn with Fayetteville Public Schools. "We offer the immunizations to students and I think just increased awareness."
Wilbourn said teachers will work to enforce good hygiene habits.
"Teachers and staff are encouraging students particularly if you've been outside or if you've been in contact with other students to wash your hands and practice good hygiene," he said.
Schaeffer said the best way to keep the virus from spreading is to stay home.
"If you have any sign of the flu, stay home," Schaeffer said. "You can make up the work, it is an excused absence. That's what we would suggest."
According to the state health department, four people have died so far this flu season in Arkansas.