Flu adds to missed school days in Cullman County

Good Hope Middle School is part of the countywide shutdown for the Cullman County school system because of the flu.

In Cullman County, the flu is so bad that the county school system is shutdown.

While the superintendent calls it a safety precaution, missed school days may have to be made up at the end of the year.

There have been at least a 1,000 students absent because of the flu or for being sick. That's not counting faculty.

The real concern is how the school district plans to make up for those missed school days.

No children are using the crosswalks, nor buses, or will be picked up and dropped off at Cullman County Schools for two days. It is something two siblings say they saw coming.

Deakon Hembree says, "It doesn't really surprise me mostly because how many people have been gone from school because of the flu."

The flu is so widespread, Good Hope Middle School's Assistant Principal Lesley Hembree was out for a week. The same assistant principal who happens to be Tess Hembree's mom.

"She said she couldn't go to school knowing she was sick and have the thought that she got other people sick," says Tess.

Deakon is a senior at West Point High school who says not only his mom, but his dad and other sister came down with the flu as well.

"It doesn't happen a lot, it's crazy that it's that bad," he says.

Down the road, Superintendent Shane Barnette says they have two options for making up the missed time.

First option: Add more days to the school year. The state will determine how many days, if any, have to be made up.

Second option: Add minutes to the school day.

For Mr. Barnette, making up school days is secondary to student health.

"I knew we had to respond to let families in Cullman County know that we are doing all we can and that we think it's what is best for the kids' health," he says.

Superintendent Barnette says it will not cut spring break short.

Because some days off were during Governor Kay Ivey's state of emergency, the school system may not have to make those up.

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