By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 8, 2018
Irwin CO., Ga. (WCTV) – Healthcare experts are ranking Georgia the sickest state in the nation with an estimated 715,000 people with the flu.
An elementary school in South Georgia is one of those getting hit hard by the epidemic.
Irwin County Schools closed its elementary school for two days. School officials said the closing is caused by too many staff members out with with the flu and not enough substitute teachers to take their place. Superintendent Dr. Thad Clayton said over a dozen staff members were out of work Tuesday.
Student attendance, though, has been normal at all schools in the district, according to Dr. Clayton. With staff ready to teach at both the middle and high school, the doors of the elementary school are the only ones closed, a decision many parents disagree with.
Jessica Cardero has four kids in the district, two in the middle and high schools and two in the elementary school. She said it was difficult to find childcare for the younger two.
"When you have kids, multiple households with kids in both schools, it makes sense just to close down, tell the families that okay, you got two days, all the kids are out of school, let's take time to clean our houses, sanitize, we're the doing the schools, we can all get it done at one time and we can do it together," said Cardero.
The school district said even with attendance and staffing normal at the other schools, keeping them open was not a decision that was taken lightly, because schools are often a safe place in the community.
"We're the place where there's two meals a day. One hundred percent of our students are eligible for free or reduced lunch here in Irwin County, so we are very cautious to call off school knowing that that's going to be a certain number of students that may not receive multiple meals in a day," Clayton said.
The school district said crews will be at the elementary school for the next two days going extensively cleaning, hoping to get the virus under control and school back in session.
By: Aubrey Brown | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 7, 2018
IRWIN CO., Ga. (WCTV) -- An elementary school in South Georgia is closing for two days after seeing an increase in sickness caused by the flu and other viruses.
According to a post on Irwin County Elementary School's Facebook page, the school will be closed on Thursday, February 8 and Friday, February 9.
The school says it made the decision to close after seeing a growing pattern of sickness, especially among staff members. Crews will be doing "extensive cleaning and sanitizing" while the school is closed.
Irwin County Middle School and Irwin County High School will remain open.