Illness closes 16 school districts; Scott County out until Tuesday

At least 16 school districts in Central and Eastern Kentucky, and Christ the King School in Lexington, canceled classes Friday because of widespread student illnesses, including flu.

The closings occurred as the state is considered to have widespread flu activity, along with most of the country. Closing schools can prevent further spread of illness and allow additional time to clean and disinfect.

On Thursday in Scott County, nearly 900 students were out of class and more than 200 students missed part of the school day because of illness, Superintendent Kevin Hub said in a statement.

Hub decided that students will have a long weekend, opting for non-traditional instruction days in which students learn from home Friday and Monday.

Absences caused by illness have been a consistent problem in Scott County for the past two weeks.

Hub said flu, strep throat and norovirus are the most common illnesses affecting students and staff.

“We've had problems not only with students but staff members who have been sick this week as well,” Hub said.

“Even though we do not like to cancel classes, in this case, we feel NTI days will provide higher-quality instruction than days at school with so many students and teachers absent,” assistant superintendent Maurice Chappell said.

In Fayette County Public Schools, pupil personnel director Steve Hill said there wasn’t enough illness to consider closing schools.

“Over the last couple of weeks, our average daily attendance has been above 93 percent. We typically run 94 percent and above,” Hill said.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears