The Letcher County Public Schools have been closed and all sporting events canceled for the remainder of the week as the number of flu cases continues to grow.
With the high incidence of flu, other illnesses are also creeping in and Superintendent Denise Yonts said officials opted to close the schools to get students away from each other in an attempt to stop spreading illnesses.
“Illness is getting worse, attendance is going down, and we’ve got more kids testing positive for flu and strep,” Yonts said. “They end up with both because their immune systems are so low.”
As of the regular board meeting Monday night, attendance was at 92.37 percent, up from below 90 percent a week earlier, but by mid-day on Tuesday officials cancelled school for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Yonts said while students last week were testing positive for Influenza A, this week they’re positive for Influenza B.
“ They’ve got both strands, A and B,” she said. “We’re trying to prevent them from getting worse.”
The Jenkins Independent Schools could not be reached by telephone, and district’s voice mail could not accept new messages.
The Kentucky Department of Public Health lists flu as widespread. Kentucky is one of 45 states in that category.
Anyone who feels the sudden onset of flu-like symptoms — fever, body aches, nausea, diarrhea, headache or possibly sore throat — should see their doctor immediately, said Dr. Fares Khater, an infectious disease specialist at Mountain Comprehensive Health Corp.