School Barely Begins, Gets Canceled Due to Mass Illness

Kentucky district says nearly a fifth of the student body got sick
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2023 2:28 AM CDT
Updated Aug 27, 2023 10:45 AM CDT
COVID, Flu, Strep Cases Get Classes Canceled 9 Days After School Begins
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / aprott)

The first day of school for Kentucky's Lee County School District was August 9, but by Friday, attendance had already dropped to 82%. By Monday, it was 81%, and 14 teachers had called out sick—so classes were canceled Tuesday and Wednesday, with remote learning planned for Thursday and Friday. Extracurricular activities were also canceled so the schools can be cleaned, NBC News reports. The district says nearly one-fifth of its 900 or so students came down with COVID, the flu, or strep within the first week and a half of school.

"We're sanitizing our buses and our buildings and giving our staff and our students time to heal," the superintendent says. In general, the public health director for the Kentucky River District tells LEX 18, "We're seeing an increase in COVID-19 throughout the seven counties. In Lee County, the attendance is at that level where they felt they needed to make the call to dismiss classes the rest of the week." Adds an official from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, "Between the flu, RSV, and COVID, this could be a very serious fall and winter." (A Hollywood studio recently brought back its mask mandate. But in better news, there's new RSV protection for newborns.)

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