MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Thousands of children are going back to school Monday after the holiday break and officials are hoping the time off will help stop the spread of influenza.

State Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann says 281 flu outbreaks were documented by the Minnesota Department of Health at Minnesota schools within the past week, which is close to the record set during the 2009 flu pandemic

READ MORE: Man Hospitalized After Hit-And-Run In Brooklyn Park

She said it is still a good idea to get a flu shot.

“This has been a really early season, and sometimes later on you can see another strain make itself known,” Ehresmann said.

READ MORE: Aromatherapy Spray Linked To Deadly Tropical Disease; 1 Minnesotan Among Those Sickened In U.S.

She also recommends taking precautions like washing your hands and keeping up other good health practices.

“I know it’s boring but getting enough sleep and eating well will keep you from become susceptible to the illness,” she said.

MORE NEWS: Child Hurt In St. Paul Shooting; Investigation Underway

The state will release its updated flu numbers this week.