- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week - and one even asked parents if they could volunteer and to help disinfect the school while students were kept home.

The Ohio Department of Health confirmed the first flu-related pediatric death of the flu season, saying that a 15-year-old girl from Ironton in southern Ohio died on Nov. 29 after being admitted to a hospital.

Across the state, 456 people had been hospitalized with the flu this year compared with 135 cases at this time last year, the department said.

Schools in the Cleveland and Toledo areas have been closed over the past week because of the large number of flu illnesses.

In Toledo, Maritime Academy wasn’t holding any classes Tuesday and Wednesday while an elementary school was closed again Tuesday.

Most of the flu cases reported to the state health department were coming from northeastern Ohio.

St. Ambrose Elementary School in Brunswick closed last week for a couple of days for sanitizing.

“Honestly, the main concern for us was that at Christmas break, that we don’t spread this among all the families,” said principal Nathan Baxendale. “We are a close-knit community. It’s almost like, let’s keep them away from each other for a day.”

Valley Christian Academy in Aurora asked parents to volunteer and help disinfect the school while students were kept home last week.

In central Ohio, the Olentangy School District sent a notice to parents this week warning them about a high number of flu cases.

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