School Closes For "Sanitation Day"

It wasn't the weather that canceled classes at Saint Mary Star of the Sea Elementary school in Jackson County today. It was shut down so the staff could disinfect it after a who's who of winter illnesses ripped through the students and staff.

FOX 47's Marcus Dash talked to the person who made the decision.

The principal Matt Berkemeier called it a sanitation day. Teachers came in and cleaned up their classrooms to try to stop the revolving door of sick days.

"We hadn't had a lot of sickness up until this point, but yesterday it was a 3rd of our school, we were like oh my goodness, we gotta do something," said Berkemeier.

Of the 156 students that attend Saint Mary Star of the Sea Elementary 49 were out sick Monday.
Principal Matt Berkemeier told me he had no choice but to close the school.

"The flu, influenza, the gi virus, that's going around, and strep throat is going back around, so more and more kids are out, and it is just circling back, and we are making sure the environment is clean," said Berkemeier.

Berkemeier tells me the sanitation day has given the school more than the usual maintenance cleaning they see each day so the kids can come back to a germ-free environment.

"The books that they touch, the manipulatives they use on a daily basis, the microscopes, the different computers, the keyboards, the screens, anything that a kid could touch. We are trying to make sure all of the germs have been eliminated," said Berkemeier.

Although this was done for the well being done for the students, many of the parents had to take the day off to be at home with their kids.  Surprisingly the feedback Berkemeier received was pretty positive.

"Our families are excited they are so thankful that we made this decision and we are also encouraging them to take the precautions at home," said Berkemeier.  

The school will be back in session tomorrow.

A nurse from the Jackson County Health Department told us that they are seeing more flu cases than usual this year.