BONNE TERRE, MO. (KTVI) – The St. Francois North County R-1 School District reports at least 12 students have been diagnosed with the flu.
The superintendent expects the real number of cases to be 3 to 4 times as many.
Dr. Yancy Poorman says attendance rates have dropped approximately 12% in just 3 days. The school board met earlier this week to discuss the option of cancelling classes.
If the attendance rates drop below 80% for 2 consecutive days then classes will be cancelled and made up at the end of the school year.
Wednesday’s overall attendance at the start of the day was approximately 84% but several students went home sick during the course of the afternoon.
The decision will be made based on two factors. One is the safety of the students and the other is a financial consideration.
Dr. Poorman said it would not make sense to, “Spend tax payers’ dollars keeping the doors open, running busses, paying utility bills, paying staff when there’s 7 and 8 kids left in a classroom.”
He’s hopeful a shutdown can be averted.
The district is disinfecting keyboards, classrooms and bathrooms. Air purifiers are running and hand sanitizer is available throughout the schools.
“Cleanliness is so important to protecting yourself when you’re around other people who are sick,” said Dr. Poorman. He said this flu outbreak has been a real life lesson on the importance of personal hygiene.
Christina McDowell is the parent of a sick student. She believes cancelling classes makes sense.
“Not only would it give kids a chance to get over the bug bit it would also give the school a chance to go in and disinfect the classrooms,” said McDowell.
Freddi Bohnenkamp has watched her niece suffer through the flu bug and believes cancelling classes will help.
“If they don’t do that, they’re not going to be able to get rid of all those germs.”