Several Kentucky school districts closed due to illness

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - At least six Kentucky school districts canceled classes on Thursday because of illness.

Barbourville, Jenkins, and Williamsburg Independent Schools, along with Knox, Clay, and Mercer Counties all closed on Thursday.

Officials in Mercer County say the decision to close was a proactive one. Attendance numbers started to decline throughout the week with many parents saying their children were sick. Many teachers and members of the staff were also ill.

Mercer County school leaders say they will spend the next two days disinfecting each classroom and building.

"Everything that kids are coming in contact with. Desks, water fountains, door knobs, light switches, all those things. So all the surfaces that they clean regularly anyway, but this is just a more thorough, deeper cleaning," said Esther Hayslett, the director of pupil personnel.

Barbourville Independent, Clay County, Knox County, Mercer County, and Williamsburg Independent school are all closed on Friday as well.

Harlan Independent Schools, which were closed for sickness earlier this week, are also closed on Friday.

Illness is keeping doctors busy. Dr. Katrina Hood tells WKYT there seems to be a lot of sickness happening at once.

"Every winter I feel like 'oh, we're swamped' but that's just every winter for you. I do think this winter we seem to have a lot more all at once of different things," she said. She says they're seeing the flu, stomach bugs and pertussis.

"I think as best we can trying to teach kids during the winter about the triangle in the face; So your eyes, your nose, your mouth, try not to touch those during the day," Hood said.

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