FOWLER TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – School districts across the area are dealing with an increasing number of absences because students are getting sick. In fact, some schools are canceling classes because of it.
To keep its students and staff healthy, the Mathews Local School District in Trumbull County decided to close one of its schools for a day to undergo a deep cleaning.
At Currie Elementary School, 41 of 134 students were absent on Wednesday.
“Here yesterday, we ended up moving to about 30%. It was 30.5% with 41 kids out and we still had them coming to the office ill,” said Mathews Schools Superintendent Russell McQuaide.
Less than 10% of kids being sick is a normal percentage.
Currie was closed on Thursday so every teacher and custodian could work together to clean the 10 classrooms from top to bottom with special chemicals.
“Little kids have all these toys around, all these items that their fingers are constantly on. So we wanted to go beyond the cleaning of the desks,” McQuaide said.
Other Mathews Schools were open on Thursday — they had lower absentee rates.
Currie is kindergarten through second grade and when the bug is going around, it’s harder to stop. Smaller children are still learning not to touch their nose, eyes or mouth.
“Then they touch that, they touch something else, the other kids touch it. They’re always touching each other, that’s how the sickness spreads,” said school nurse Jodi Guarnieri.
Currie also sent students home on Wednesday with a letter. It explained why the school was being closed on Thursday and asked parents to wash every item their child brings to school.
“Launder their coats, hats, wipe down their binders, book bags, anything that comes to school so we can really start fresh when they come to school on Monday,” Guarnieri said.
Currie is closed on Friday, as are all Mathews Schools for an in-service day. The district hopes the long weekend will give more time for the bug to go away.
Other schools are fighting sickness, too. Summit Academy Youngstown Elementary and Summit Academy Warren Elementary were closed on Wednesday for disinfecting.
The Ohio Department of Health has been tracking flu numbers since September 2019. The following numbers are through January 19 of this year.
- Trumbull County: 30 patients received hospital treatment
- Mahoning County: 34 people have been hospitalized because of the flu
- Columbiana County: 18 people were hospitalized