SALYERSVILLE – As attendance rates dipped earlier this week, officials with the Magoffin County School District decided on Tuesday to cancel classes for the remainder of the week.
Magoffin County Schools Superintendent Scott Helton told the Independent on Tuesday, February 28 the attendance rate dropped down to 88 percent last week, which is only slightly low (down from an average of 92 to 93 percent), so they called school off on Friday in hopes that the three-day weekend would allow the students and teachers out for illnesses time to recuperate and not be contagious.
However, on Monday, the district-wide attendance rates were down another point to 87 percent, and by Tuesday had dropped to the low 80s, so school was called off for the rest of the week.
“We’re hoping that by taking these five days it will give us time to sanitize the buildings, and those who are out sick will have time for the illnesses to run their course,” Helton said.
“At a certain point, it’s not about the money,” Helton continued. “If 20 to 30 percent of the kids are out, as well as a lot of staff, how are we supposed to get them ready for testing?”
Helton said the district office has been monitoring the attendance rates regularly and they first noticed drops in attendance at one or two schools, but by Tuesday, all five schools in the district were significantly affected.
While multiple illnesses are to blame – the flu, stomach viruses, strep, etc. – Helton said he hopes five days will be enough for the germs to die down. He urged parents that if their children are running fevers to keep them away from large crowds, let them rest and give plenty of fluids.
“I realize with the tournament going on it may be hard, but we need to be vigilant to not spread it any more than necessary,” Helton said.
By taking off Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week, that puts the total number of days missed this school year up to eight, with the current last day of school set for May 19 (subject to change). That date still includes a spring break in the schedule, and, important to note, factors school beginning one week later than normal to allow extra time to prepare the new high school for students.