GOODING — North Valley Academy in Gooding is closed Thursday and Friday, and Valley School District in Hazelton will close Friday due to illnesses.

Recently, anywhere from 12 to 20 percent of North Valley’s student body has been absent with flu-like symptoms and stomach bugs, school principal Jeff Klamm said. Many staff members have been sick, too.

“We’ve been utilizing all the subs we can find,” he said. And “coming to school sick is not best for students’ education.”

With five or six students absent in every class, “you have a lot of re-teaching to do,” Klamm said, adding it’s not an effective use of time.

In Hazelton, campuses in the Valley School District — with a total of about 500 students — will close Friday due to a high rate of absences this week because of the flu or respiratory illnesses, Superintendent Eric Anderson wrote in an email to the Times-News.

“We will thoroughly clean the building and look to reopen next week,” he said.

At North Valley Academy — a public charter school with 235 students in kindergarten through 12th grades — a cleaning crew worked Thursday to clean every classroom and the school’s bus company is cleaning school buses.

The school also sent home tips for parents on how to help their children recover and get healthy, Klamm said.

The closures are the latest in a string of illnesses affecting Magic Valley school campuses and communities. Idaho public health officials are worried about a particularly severe influenza season so far, with the most deaths reported in seven years.

In Camas County, the school reopened Monday after a flu outbreak prompted a two-day closure. Whooping cough cases have been confirmed within the last month in Twin Falls, Kimberly and Minidoka County schools, although none have closed.