ANDERSON – Liberty Christian’s middle and high school is open for class Wednesday, but the building will be closed Thursday and Friday as the school operates under e-Learning days because of a rising number of students and teachers who have the flu.
However, the elementary school campus will remain open. About 7 percent of the students there report having the flu, said Liberty Christian Superintendent Jay McCurry.
“You would think your elementary would have the higher number, but that has not been the case,” he said. “Our priority is the health and safety of our students.”
About 10 percent of Liberty Christian’s 235 middle and high school students have been sick since Christmas, but that has grown to about 20 percent this week.
“The numbers this week have just kept growing and growing,” he said Tuesday. “I know that our nurse sent quite a few home that were running fevers today.”
About half the teachers also have been out with the flu, McCurry added.
“It makes it very challenging to continue on with lesson plans,” he said.
Though students are home sick, their work continues. McCurry said the school just became eligible by the Indiana Department of Education to use e-Learning days, which typically are used in place of snow days so schools don’t have to make up time later in the year.
“We were planning on using it for snow days, but we’re having to utilize it for sickness,” he said.
“In order to get attendance credit, your student needs to email their teacher and complete at least 10 percent of their assignment in each class,” he said in a letter to parents. “Alternative assignments will be offered by each teacher for students who do not have home internet access.”
Teachers will be available to respond to questions via email.
Though students will be learning at home, athletic events will continue as planned. However, there will be no athletic practices in the Washington gym and Saturday elementary games in the Washington gym also are canceled, McCurry said.
Closing down the facility is important so it can be sanitized, McCurry said.
“Hopefully, we can start fresh next Monday,” he said.
Mark Bartmas, principal at Alexandria-Monroe Intermediate School, said between 20 and 35 students have been out with the flu each day over the past couple of weeks. Staff also has been calling in sick.
“I was out for a week, and I can’t remember the last time I was out for a week,” he said.
Though the school has not yet resorted to e-Learning days, it is turning to technology so students can remain caught up on their learning and school work.
“We’re on 1:1 so a lot of our students have access to the work they’re doing,” he said. 1:1, or One to One, is the technology program adopted by most school districts that gives each student a digital device on which to research and complete their school work.
Anderson Community Schools
At least one Madison County district reports not having been hit too hard by the flu.
Anderson Community Schools’ Timothy Smith said because of the much larger student population of the county’s largest school district, a few more sick kids might not be as noticeable
“We’ve had some illness but not near what everybody else has had,” he said. “On any given day, you can have 40 or 50 students gone because of illness or doctors' appointments.”