In the midst of slumping attendance, Magoffin County school officials decided to close schools for Thursday.
Average daily attendance, which determines funding for Kentucky school systems, had fallen from 92 percent Monday to 82 percent Wednesday, leading officials to announce the school closure Wednesday afternoon.
“I don’t want to make it sound like it is all about money, but all of our funding is based on average daily attendance and it has gotten to the point where it was just not financially feasible to have school,” Magoffin County Schools Superintendent Joe Hunley said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Hunley said rumors of HINI, or Swine Flu, had apparently led parents to keep children home, which is understandable by school officials.
“Parents are concerned and I understand that,” Hunley said. “Their number one priority is the safety of their children and that is our number one concern as well.”
Although no cases have been confirmed as being HINI, Hunley added that one case of the flu had been officially reported and because the regular flu season has not started, all cases were considered by medical experts as being of the HINI variety.
“We don’t have an outbreak,” Hunley said. “We have tried to be proactive with this because it was one of the public’s biggest issues when school started. We are in constant contact with medical professionals to stay updated and gather all the information we need to have if an outbreak does occur.”
The Center for Disease Control recommends that schools remain closed in this situation for a five-day period. Magoffin County schools were already scheduled for a four-day weekend and will miss only one scheduled instruction day before opening again Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Hunley hopes parents and the public will assist in the school system’s effort to stave off any widespread flu potential while schools are closed.
“We can close schools and it will take away the threat of spreading any viruses, but it won’t help if, while students are out of school, parents don’t keep their children away from large crowds where the potential is greater for becoming infected,” he said.
Hunley also encouraged parents to educate themselves regarding H1N1, and suggested anyone concerned with school safety and the system’s handling of the Swine Flu situation should contact central office personnel.
All other school activities between Thursday and Tuesday are also cancelled, except for the MCHS football game Friday night at Jenkins, which will be held as scheduled.