Two Southeast Missouri school districts cancel classes next week due to flu

Friday, October 2, 2009

Schools in Kennett and Malden will close next week due to high rates of absences.

Due to an unusually high number of absences throughout the Kennett School District, the district's central office announced Friday that school will be dismissed Monday and Tuesday.

The announcement comes just two days after more than 60 students were sent home from Kennett Middle School with "flu-like symptoms."

On Wednesday, more than 200 students were absent in the Kennett School District, with more than 100 students absent from middle school, approximately 70 absent from high school, and about 30 absent at South Elementary.

One local school district is closed today for illness, but others in the seven-county area say their attendance numbers remain strong.

Malden School District will be closed until Wednesday, after watching attendance fall from 95 percent to 78 percent at its elementary school and 98 percent to 86 percent at the high school, said Superintendent Kenneth Cook.

Cook believes this is the first time in the school's history it has closed for illness.

"We've seen a drop in attendance all week that has been pretty significant," Cook said. "The elementary didn't have enough kids to have instruction. When you should have 20 kids in a room and are down to only seven, and we had that in some classes, you can't instruct kids."

None of the cases have been serious and the illness appears to be affecting only students, not staff, Cook said.

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