Custodial staff disinfects while Bath County schools are closed due to sickness

Schools closed until Thursday due to high number of illnesses, including flu

BATH COUNTY, Va. – Custodians were spraying, wiping and mopping in Bath County Public Schools on Tuesday.

The deep clean is an extra precaution while the schools are closed. A number of students and staff are sick, which creates the possibility of staffing issues.

Bath County High School Principal, Dr. Michael Perry, is confident his school will be as clean as it can be.

“We keep a very clean school anyway. Our custodial staff is outstanding. As you can see, if you were able to look down the hallway here, we haven’t even done his hallway yet. This is just what it looks like on a regular day. Our bathrooms are always clean; our classrooms are always clean, so I know by having two days we are going to be able to hit basically every nook and cranny we have in the school," said Perry.

He said custodians were being especially thorough in some areas.

“Any areas we have carpeting or upholstered furniture, especially the band room, auditorium, these types of places, we are actually setting off the disinfectant bombs,” said Perry.

When the number of reported illnesses in the district rose from 107 Friday to 187 Monday, Bath County Superintendent Sue Hirsh consulted with the regional health department.

“They did not recommend closing school, but they did give me several things to think about. One of those was what was the possibility of beginning to see staff being affected, and if so, would we be adequately staffing our schools for students," Hirsh said.

With over 30% of students sick and substitute teachers becoming sick and unable to fill in for the teachers who were sick, Hirsh made the decision on Monday to close on Tuesday and Wednesday.

To try to prevent any further spread of whatever is making people sick, officials are discussing some changes.

“We talked about, in a preschool or kindergarten classroom, where there are a lot of manipulatives that children interact with and touch, we’re going to make some choices about putting some of those aside for awhile," said Hirsh.

Anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms, especially fever, is encouraged to stay home until they are symptom-free for at least 24 hours.