UPDATE: Districts canceling school because of the flu
In Kentucky, Floyd County Schools shut down Monday and Lawrence County dismissed early due to widespread flu. They’re also closing the building to students the rest of the week.
"It is running rampant in this county," said Sheila Centers, who was picking up her niece from Louisa West Elementary School Monday afternoon. "I've got several nieces that are sick, one baby that was taken to the hospital last night."
For a school district which averages 93 percent attendance, it was 84 percent Monday morning and falling. Louisa West the worst of all at 76.9 percent, barely edging Fallsburg Elementary at 77.1 percent. That number means that almost 1 out of every 4 kids was home sick.
"I didn't know that," said Mary Roberts who was picking up her grandson at Louisa West.
He got the flu two weeks ago, keeping him down for three days. She doesn't want a repeat episode.
"I hope he doesn't," she said.
Superintendent Robbie Fletcher made the call Monday morning, dismissing early, calling off Tuesday and Wednesday, moving up a Professional Development day for teachers to Thursday and making Friday an NTI or non-traditional instruction day.
"Whether it be call off for snow or call off for illness, I don't think you can be too cautious," Fletcher said.
Low attendance means kids missing the lesson, teachers needing to reteach students when they come back plus lost money in the funding formula, though Fletcher says money is no object. The district even had trouble staffing the classroom late last week because so many teachers stayed home with their sick kids.
"I think that people would much rather be home, have their student home and healthy then be afraid they're going to get the flu," he said.
And there’s no disagreement from Centers or Roberts who believe it is the right call.
"I think it is," Centers said.
"I think it's a good one,” Roberts added. “Maybe it will give them a chance to get better."
With a 9 percent drop in attendance, it means an extra 225 kids stayed home Monday because they were sick.
Extra cleaning will be happening at all the schools the rest of the week.
A school district in eastern Kentucky is closing for the week due to illness.
Lawrence County Schools Superintendent Dr. Robbie Fletcher tweeted that the district will release students two hours early on Monday, Feb. 18.
He also tweeted that the district will be closed for the remainder of the week. Tuesday and Wednesday will be regular school closings. Thursday will be a Flexible PD day for the staff and Friday will be a Google/NTI day.