WALKER COUNTY, Ga. - Some 9,000 students in Walker County will not be going to school for the next couple of days. They get time off after the Walker County School District in northwest Georgia closed all of its 15 schools for Thursday and Friday due to health concerns.
“We’ve got three sicknesses the flu, Norovirus and then strep throat all kind of converging at one time,” said Walker County Superintendent Damon Raines.
He said on Wednesday 1,000 students called out sick from the district’s 15 schools. On top of that, 87 faculty members had to stay home.
Raines said it was tough to find enough substitute teachers to fill the spots and just as tough to find additional bus drivers to fill in for the 15 who were absent. Safety he said became an issue with 92 routes in the district.
“Having to double and triple routes then you’re talking about that driver who is on a route that they know and then they’re picking up a couple routes where they don't know and then safety become an issue at that point,” said Raines.
Kathryn Winkles, who is a substitute teacher with the district was stocking on groceries.
Her Head Start twins, preschooler and another school aged child will be staying home just like all the other students of the Walker County School District.
“I think that it’s good to get over the bug so we don’t spread it around. We’re going to go home see if we can’t quarantine ourselves so we don’t want the bug we haven’t had it praise the lord hopefully we won’t get it,” said Winkles.
Noah Stoker who attends Lafayette High School said his family is focusing on staying healthy. He said some of his friends are celebrating but others not so much.
“Some are celebrating, of course, I mean it’s school and some are just like ‘oh my Lord,’ because they have homework and some kids don’t like to get behind on work,” said Noah Stoker.
Noah Stoker who also attends Lafayette with his sister said his family is focusing on staying healthy like Kathryn Winkles who also is a food services manager at a Head Start school and substitute teacher with the district.
“We’re going to go home see if we can’t quarantine ourselves so we don’t want the bug we haven’t had it praise the lord hopefully we won’t get it,” said Stoker.
Superintendent Raines said the schools will be disinfected on Thursday to make sure they are not contaminated.
He said on Sunday night he will review the situation and barring any unforeseen circumstances the students, staff and others who aren't sick will return to school Monday morning.