Hundreds sick with flu force Lone Grove schools to close

LONE GROVE, Okla. (KXII) - Lone Grove Public Schools shut its doors due to flu and other illnesses taking a toll on students and staff.

Superintendent Mari Jayne Miller said the school began considering closing earlier in the week and made the decision on Wednesday to close for Thurs. Jan. 31 and Fri. Feb. 1.

Hundreds of students missed class this week because of illness, with numbers rising each day.

"It has really become a hardship on our employees and our staff as well as our students," Miller said.

Around 300 students missed school on Wednesday district-wide.

"For the safety and welfare of our kids and of our staff, this is what we should do," Miller said.

Miller also said teachers came to school sick because of a lack of substitute teachers.

Michele Stoddard has a child in Lone Grove schools and works as a substitute teacher.

"We've seen an increase," Stoddard said. "I've been subbing at the junior high and each day it seems to be rising. I think we're were up to 80 some kids today at the junior high alone."

Stoddard said she supports the decision to close for a few days.

"Our superintendent does a good job and it wasn't an easy decision," she said. "She's had to spend time and really look at the numbers. She felt like it was the best for the teachers and the students and the families to get everybody well."

While students and staff are at home, Miller said each building will get a thorough cleaning.

Miller said the district bought $1600 worth of additional equipment to sanitize each classroom and hallway.

Miller urges parents to take their kids to a doctor if they show any symptoms of sickness and to stay home and rest.

"The main thing is keeping them home long enough to where they completely recover before they come back to school," Miller said.

All extracurricular activities for Thursday and Friday are cancelled as well.

School will start again on Mon. Feb. 4.

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