MADISON COUNTY, Ohio — West Jefferson Local Schools announced they’re closing Thursday March 23and Friday March 24 due to the number of students and staff who are sick with what the district believes to be is the flu.
All schools will be closed for those days. Superintendent Bill Mullett said in his 17 years he’s never had to do this.
The district has a little under 1,300 students, and say 285 were out sick Wednesday. Many teachers were also sick.
The district says they’re going to do a thorough cleaning of the school buildings and buses starting Thursday morning, in an effort to keep the germs from spreading.
On Friday, they’ll focus on Norwood Elementary School.
Students bitten by the bug said it’s been tough to beat.
“Everyone is sick. We need a break. All of my friends are sick” said 13-year old Hannah Messer.
Her mother, a substitute teacher in the district, is still feeling the effects.
“It’s taken us several weeks to get better. It’s a lot. It zaps your strength,” said Lora Messer.
School officials said as soon as the announcement was made Wednesday afternoon that the district was closing due to illness, they started ordering more shipments of cleaning supplies.
“We will be dividing into crews of two, then we will block off classrooms, then come into the hallways” said Jefferson Local School District Director of Facilities and Transportation Robert Hiss.
He adds while cleaning and sterilization is underway, buildings will be sealed off to everyone else until classes resume Monday.
A craft show scheduled Saturday at Norwood Elementary School will be postponed and rescheduled according to Hiss.
Officials from Madison County Public Health said they’re working with school officials and monitoring the situation.
They said while people continue to recover, flu-vaccines are still available to the general public.
Spring Break for the district doesn’t start until April 10.