Berea students too sick for school

By: Tim Johnston Email
By: Tim Johnston Email

BEREA, Ky. (WKYT) - The sign outside the school boasts that Berea Community is a "Great place to learn," but lately that's been tough because the attendance has started to slide.

"Today it got to down to about 89.3% and that's too low to continue school," explained Superintendent Mike Hogg, who blamed the flu for all of the illness.

"We decided to cancel for tomorrow (Friday)."

Between the elementary, middle school, and high school students nearly a hundred were absent on Thursday, a telling sign of the illness working it's way through the hallways.

"When you're losing that many students and that many staff members it's really difficult to maintain a high level of instructional focus," said the superintendent.

Hogg says he rarely cancels school for anything baring major weather, like the recent snow, but this problem is that big.

"It's a pretty rare occurrence. Even my daughter, who is a senior, accused me of getting a little soft, but when you take a look at those numbers it's indisputable."

The superintendent credits to custodial staff in the schools for their efforts to keep the buildings clean. However, things have hit a critical point and Hogg, along with other administrators, decided an extra day off won't just help the students and staff, it will give the cleaning crews enough time to disinfect everything.

And Hogg means everything, "We're just going to do the extra-heavy duty cleaning. The water fountains, bathrooms, sinks, doorknobs, doors, glass, just about anything the student can put their hands on."

Berea Community Schools is just the latest district to close up because of illnesses. Laurel County Schools canceled classes last Friday and will follow suit and close down again this Friday because of sickness. The same week, Whitley County schools stopped for several days, and Corbin schools also took time off for health reasons.

Many parents are grateful their students are getting away from others who might be sick.

"I've got kids that get sick pretty easily because one has asthma, so it's very nice to know that bronchitis will not be in the near future for my household," said Lorina Capillo, a mother of two third graders.

"I don't want mine sick again and I know if they keep coming to school it's going to be continuous. I mean it's just going to keep being passed around time after time. So it's good they're allowing a day off so that the kids can get well," added Misty Ball.

However, some parents aren't happy the school is taking another day off from classes. Including weather days and the health day on Friday, the district will have to make up four days at the end of the school year.

Although, everyone agrees this cycle of sickness needs to stop, they just hope a three day break is the cure.

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