Illness closes school district

By: Paige Quiggins Email
By: Paige Quiggins Email

Due to so many students missing school, officials in the Perry County School District have cancelled classes the rest of the week.

Low attendance was reported this week in Perry County and the warmer than normal winter could actually play a role in the amount of people getting sick.

Perry County students boarded the buses for the last time this week.

"Over the last several days our student attendance has went down drastically and we feel like that is in large part due to sicknesses," said Jody Maggard, Finance officer for the Perry County Board of Education.

Maggard said that of the over 4,000 students enrolled in the district, only 3,600 have been making it to the classroom the past few days and calling school off for a couple of days is not that much out of the norm. Maggard said they do have days built into the calendar for things like this that are traditionally used for weather emergencies.

“Our staff banks some days, we add some time to each day to accommodate for situations like this which normally it's bad weather which this year we have not been affected by,” said Maggard.

Attendance is monitored on a daily basis and it affects funding when it's down.

“Any time we see a significant decrease in that ADA, average daily attendance, it can alert us as to what is going on because we want to keep that as high as possible so that we can definitely keep our funding,” said Maggard.

Medical professionals said they have seen an increase in patients this week.

“Normally we will see 100 to 150 or so a day and here lately it has been closer to 250,” said
Donald McPherson, APRN of Primary Care Center.

McPherson said he believed the constant temperature changes and mild winter could have something to do with the spread of illnesses in schools.

“It has actually hit later in the season schools have not been out of session this year so everybody being contained in the classroom, everybody is getting more sick because the schools are not closed to get rid of it,” said McPherson.

Classes are expected to resume in the PCSD on Monday, Feb. 20. McPherson said a four day weekend should help stop illnesses they have seen like strep throat, stomach viruses and the flu from spreading in the schools because the contagious period generally does not extend beyond 72 hours.

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