CULLMAN, Ala. — Two north Alabama school systems are shutting down because of the flu.

Officials in Cullman County and neighboring Marshall County say classes are being called off to help slow the spread of the illness.

An announcement from Cullman Superintendent Shane Barnette says schools there will be closed Thursday and Friday. He says large numbers of both students and workers already are absent because of the flu.

And a Facebook post by Marshall County Superintendent Cindy Wigley says schools will be closed until Tuesday because of the illness.

Public Health officials have said they are investigating more than 50 deaths potentially linked to a flu outbreak statewide, and the agency has been special clinics to vaccinate people against the disease.

Gov. Kay Ivey declared a flu emergency earlier this month.

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