High Number Of Absences Close Wyandotte, Colcord Schools

Wednesday, January 23rd 2013, 1:38 pm
By: Craig Day

School districts in Ottawa County and Delaware County canceled classes Thursday and Friday as a proactive measure to prevent the spread of the flu.

Superintendent of Wyandotte Public Schools Tony Gray said with 21 percent of the student body absent because of flu-like symptoms, he felt he had to do something.

Wyandotte Schools has about 800 students.

Gray said the district's janitorial staff will be busy Thursday and Friday disinfecting every classroom and hallway.

Superintendent of Colcord Public Schools JD Parkerson says 15 percent of the students and more than 10 percent of the faculty and staff including janitorial workers have the flu in his district. 

"If we just bring people in every day and that thing keeps spreading from person to person, it's going to continue for quite a while," Parkerson said.

And it's not just students. One out of every four high school teachers are also out with the flu.

With those numbers, Parkerson said he decided to close schools Thursday and Friday. 

"Part of the challenge is when teachers in a district the size of Colcord get sick, it's often hard to find substitute teachers," he said. "That was also a factor in the decision to call off school."

"We just don't have as big a pool as some places," Parkerson said.

Teachers, the custodians, and other staff scrubbed down every door handle, locker, hand rails and water fountains. About the only kids on campus are a few FFA members.

The superintendent hopes in a few days, the halls will be packed with students again and things will be back to normal.

"We're hoping that on Monday when kids come back, they're well and there won't be any lingering germs to make them sick again," Parkerson said.

Classes in both Wyandotte and Colcord are scheduled to resume on Monday.

1/17/2013 Related Story: Flu Closes School Districts In Adair, Muskogee Counties