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'Why are we shutting down just one school?' Parents want all Jennings County Schools closed after one closes because of sick students

The superintendent says they're seeing increased cases of colds, flu, strep throat and other illnesses in homes and schools.

NORTH VERNON, Ind — Hayden Elementary School in Jennings County is canceling classes for the rest of the week because too many kids are calling out sick. 

"Why are we shutting down just one school? I've got kids in all the schools," parent of a Hayden Elementary student, Misty McGinnis said. "We get the cold and flus like every county does but never this bad."

McGinnis has an 8-year-old at Hayden who just got over a cold, but her other daughter in middle school is now going to the doctor. 

"She's having breathing problems, she's vomiting, diarrhea and fever," McGinnis said. 

In a statement sent to WHAS11, Superintendent Teresa Brown said: 

"When a school reaches 20% of students absent due to illness, we are required to report the number to the State Health Department. At that time, we also consult with the County Health Department and make a decision on whether we need to close a school to prevent the spread of illness."

Brown said the district is seeing increased cases of colds, flu, strep throat and other illnesses in homes and schools. While most schools in the county have about 5 to 10 percent of students absent, 25 percent of students at Hayden Elementary are out or were sent home sick forcing the school to close for three days. 

“With them only closing one school and me having a kid in another school that has to ride the same buses with the siblings of all the sick kids, how's that going to work?" parent of a Hayden Elementary student, Shelly Baker said. 

Baker's daughter who attends Hayden was recently out for nine days with the flu.

"She's better now and I made sure she didn't not come to school until she was fever free," Baker said. 

McGinnis and Baker want all schools in the district to cancel classes.

“If they took all the buses out of commission and all the schools shut down, what’s it going to hurt for a couple of days?" McGinnis said. "Get this [sickness] out of our county before we have a death."

The district has custodians cleaning and disinfecting all schools and buses, but parents fear it is not enough.

"It's just an endless circle," Baker said. 

Students at Hayden Elementary will have e-Learning days for the rest of the week. Parents told WHAS11 students were sent home with tablets that will not require internet to do their homework.