Primary Resource

"Schools May Close Again." Clinch Valley News (December 13, 1918)

In "Schools May Close Again," published by the Clinch Valley News on December 13, 1918, the editors report that Tazewell’s Mayor A. C. Buchanan is likely to shut down schools and other public spaces as the number of influenza cases in the region is the highest its ever been.

Transcription from Original

Influenza Situation is Puzzling Authorities As to What Action Should be Taken in Stopping Spread of Disease.

Mayor A. C. Buchanan said yesterday that it was probably the schools and other public places would be closed, owning to the rapid spread of the influenza. He said he tried to get a meeting of the Board of Health on Wednesday evening, but the doctors were too busy visiting patients to attend.

The probability is that before these lines are read, an order will be issued to shut down.

New Cases of the "Flu."

There are a number of new cases of influenza n town and community. There are cases in the families of James Roach, II. S. Surface, J. S. Bottimore, Bill Lipford, H. P. Brittain, Albert Hagy, George Lewis, H. A. Greever, and possibly others.

Mrs. James Roach has been critically ill at her home the past week with pneumonia. Her condition was improved yesterday.

J. Albert Hagy, the blacksmith, is ill at his home here of pneumonia, following influenza, which he is supposed to have contracted on the occasion of his son’s wife’s burial at Graham, which he attended. At last report he was doing well, and it is said will recover.

Better Close Down.

The majority of sentiment here seems in favor of closing down the school and other public places of meeting. Better err if at all on the safe side.

The School Board can close the school any time, irrespective of the Board of Health. At least one new case was reported on yesterday among the school children, in the family of A. G. Russell. The disease is spreading. Unless heroic measures are taken it will continue to spread. The doctors and undertakeers are busy, and will be more so unless the epidemic can be stamped out. Public sentiment is in favor of closing, and the School Board and Board of Health should not run counter to a public demand for the protection of the health and lives of their children, when the compulsory law compels attendance at school. Better shut down after today.—Editor.

The influenza is said to be raging again in Graham, Bluefield, Pocahontas, and also in other cities in the State. The Graham schools have closed down, and extra precautions are being taken there, and in Pocahontas also, to check and prevent the spread of the disease. The disease is spreading in the town and community. Cases are reported from different sections of the county. There are a number of cases more than at any time heretofore in this town. The disease does not seem to be in a virulent form, and no deaths are reported.

Decline To Close Schools.

Both the town council and the Board of Health at meetings held recently to consider the matter decided to keep "open house" a while longer, and see what will happen. As one man puts it, "if the epidemic breaks out among the 300 children of the high school, the authorities will meet again and if the Flue is very bad, the lid will be clapped on. The same old story," he said, locking the door after the horse is stolen." The cases already in town, and there are a number of them, are not of a bad type, it is stated. Many "bad colds" are pronounced influenza and amount to but little. Whether the authorities have proceeded wisely or unwisely, remains to be seen. Whether precaution is better than cure, however, is not a question at all. Time will tell.