A school is coming together after Jerry Patton, an eighth grader at Nicholas County Middle School, lands in the hospital earlier this week after getting viral meningitis.
"Everyone's just crying," says Hannah Zornes, a friend of Patton's. "You could walk down the hallway and everybody would be in tears."
Earlier this week, Nicholas County School officials began working around the clock to disinfect the schools after Patton became ill with the virus, following a football game he played on Saturday. It's a condition now striking fear for many parents.
"It's very scary it couldn't happen just like that," says Shellie Stone, a mother of two and a nurse says she's now taking steps for her own family to keep healthy. She says she is making sure her two children wash their hands and change their clothes when they come home from school.
Speculation continues to circle in the Nicholas County community. Friday, students say they were called for a special meeting where teachers updated them on Patton's status.
"There's a lot of rumors going around," says Stone. "I don't know what the truth is, but I know he's a sick little boy.
But many are still trying to remain hopeful.
"Just pray for him, that's all you really can do," says Zornes.
Patton is at UK Hospital listed in critical condition.