DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – With students returning to class this week, local health officials are concerned about the spread of the flu that already saw a dramatic increase in cases last week across much of North Texas.

“We are concerned with our children going back to school,” said Dallas County Health Director Zachary Thompson. “The fact that there are a number of children who have not received the vaccination is a concern.”

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Last year Dallas County reported two flu-related pediatrics deaths in the month of January.

Thompson said historically the flu peaks in January after students return from their holiday break.

The county’s health director said he is hoping parents do a better job this year with keeping their sick kids at home.

“Parents should not be taking their kids to school if they are ill,” he said. “What we saw last year during flu season is parents taking sick kids to school and they were infecting other kids.”

However, with H1N1 symptoms commonly lasting up to two weeks, many parents said they know that’s not going to happen.

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Paige Schnabel, a Dallas mother of a five-year-old preschool student, said, “They are going to go back with a sniffling noise because, especially if you have working parents, parents can’t stay home for a few weeks until the symptoms are gone, so there are always sick kids at school.”

That’s why Schnabel made sure her son, Leo, received the flu vaccine back in August.

With several school districts not returning to class until Tuesday, including Dallas ISD, Thompson said he hopes the county’s clinic is packed Monday with parents bringing their children in for the flu shot.

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