GOWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB-TV) – The superintendent of Gowanda Central Schools says every building has been struggling with the flu.
Dr. Robert Anderson said the issue peaked Wednesday, when about 20 percent of people across the schools were absent, and not enough faculty to cover sick teachers compounded the problem.
“It was coming to a point where, today [Thursday], we have enough faculty out that we don’t necessarily have enough to substitute the vacancies, so we’ve had to double up some classes, had a lot of people cover other classes and we’re just not able to maintain a quality educational program,” Dr. Anderson said.
Anderson said Gowanda’s middle school has been hit the hardest.
On Thursday, he chose to give everyone Friday off to help kids and faculty get on the mend.
“You know, limit human contact, make sure the buildings are thoroughly sanitized and disinfected, and hopefully that breaks the cycle,” he said.
Dr. Joseph Chow of Western New York Immediate Care says Anderson made a good call. Chow says a lot of factors make classrooms ripe places for illness to spread.
“You’ve got the perfect set of circumstances where you’ve got a lot of people crammed in a small space who probably try to cough into their sleeves but may not be as successful, certainly the younger kids are more susceptible,” Chow said.
Anderson hopes cancelling classes takes the pressure off teachers and students who might otherwise feel compelled to tough it out.
“We have a lot of conscientious students that…even if they are not feeling quite right, they’re going to want to come to school tomorrow,” he said. “We’re taking away the option to come. We’d rather have you stay home and get well.”
Along with that, all afternoon and evening activities are cancelled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.