Whitesburg KY
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Illness shuts Jenkins schools

A high absentee rate due to widespread illness has forced the cancellation of classes in Jenkins for the rest of the week.

The Jenkins Independent School District informed parents late Tuesday afternoon that classes at the district’s two campuses would be cancelled for the rest of the week due to illness. Jenkins Superintendent Mike Genton said attendance levels were consistent last week leading up to Friday, when absentee rates began to climb.

Genton said the district had been fortunate so far in dealing with illness. But when the onset hit, he said, it hit furiously.

“We made it near the end of February without having to take off for illness, but then we got hit with flu A, flu B and strep all at once,” he said. “We’ve been able to handle one at a time, but all three at the same time was too much.”

Genton said it was decided to have classes Monday, but by the end of the day Monday, the district was experiencing an attendance rate of about 80 percent among its 422 enrolled students, making it unfeasible to plan to have classes the following day. Attendance at Jenkins Elementary School was nearing 75 percent by the end of Monday.

Staff members were sterilizing surfaces at the district’s schools on Tuesday.

“I was hoping we could go today (Tuesday) and take off Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, but it didn’t work out that way,” Genton said.

Genton said sporting events and practices will also be cancelled, save for the high school basketball district tournament games being played this week at East Ridge High School in Pike County.

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