A drop in attendance due to illnesses is forcing some schools to close while others monitor closely

MOUNTAIN GROVE, Mo. -- While some schools are dealing with winter weather, others are dealing with influenza and other illnesses leading districts to close down for days.

Last Friday, the Mountain Grove School District started monitoring their attendance. On Friday, they had 90 percent of their students and teachers here at the school. They had a three day weekend and thought things would get better. However, when they came back on Tuesday that attendance had dropped down to 79 percent and then they had to make the decision to close school for the rest of the week.

"Disinfect, disinfect, disinfect. We want everything clean," Mountain Grove parent Meghan Shannon exclaimed.

Mountain Grove Superintendent Jim Dickey says the district has 1,359 students and normally sees a 95 percent attendance on any given day.

By noon on Tuesday, over 300 students and 18 teachers were out sick.

That day, Amanda Barton's two youngest kids, one in fourth and the other in seventh grade, tested positive for influenza A.

She works three jobs and was worried she would have to miss work.

"I was really thankful that the school shutdown because that left my oldest son to stay home with them," Barton told KY3.

Meghan Shannon has three kids in the district.

Her oldest, a third grader, started showing symptoms of the flu.

"Third grade was pretty hard hit," Shannon added.

She's glad the decision to close was made so her two youngest didn't get sick too.

"Being able to stay home and kind of keep it contained just with us and get the one that was sick healthy, has really helped us," Shannon explained.

Dickey says the district's buses, computers, surfaces and door knobs are all being thoroughly cleaned by staff during the closure.

And when kids come back on Monday, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes will be in every classroom.

"I'm glad they're taking the same course of action that I'm taking in my own home. So I've been using Lysol and bleaching," Barton said.

In nearby Cabool, Superintendent Karl Janson put out a Facebook message on Thursday after some parents were wondering why school wasn't closed.

He says the lowest attendance all week has been 92 percent and that Friday's attendance was back up to 95 percent.

But he says staff are taking every precaution and are cleaning the schools and buses every night rather than once per week.