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Superintendent believes flu is affecting attendance

BONNE TERRE – The flu seems to have hit North County pretty hard this week.

During the regular monthly North County school board meeting Tuesday night, Superintendent Dr. Yancy Poorman said he is concerned about attendance.

Before the end of the day Tuesday, attendance at the primary school was at 84 percent; Parkside at 85 percent; the high school at 89 percent and the middle school at 81 percent.

Reasons for students being sent home included fever or flu, ear infections and strep.

The flu began hitting the district Friday. He said there were 15 confirmed cases but added there are more students who aren’t going to the doctor. He is worried the flu problem is going to get worse.

Poorman told board members it would be in their best interest to cancel school Monday and Tuesday if attendance drops below 80 percent Thursday and Friday. Students are already off that Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and the following Monday for Thanksgiving Break. It would give students a chance to get well and keep the flu from spreading more. Students and teachers are going to school while they are sick.

Also, Poorman estimated they could lose $75,000 to $100,000 in state aid which is based on average daily attendance if the attendance rate dipped below 80 percent. He said having classes would be throwing away money.

North County Middle School Principal Brenda Medley added that students aren’t just sick one or two days, they are out three to five days.

Poorman said the district is doing all they can. They distributed hand sanitizers and teachers are wiping down computer keyboards in between classes. Bathroom doors are also being sanitized and air purifiers are running after school.

At his request, the board granted Poorman the authority to cancel classes if attendance drops that low. Parents would be notified through media and AlertNow.

In other matters, five people have voiced interest in serving out Pete Selzer’s school board term through April.

Selzer submitted his letter of resignation on Oct. 24 because he is moving out of district.

Michael Mason, Gary Ross, Donna Hickman, Jerry Reed and former board member, Janet Barton have applied for the position, school board president, Paul Williams announced during their monthly meeting Tuesday night.

Williams said they would discuss what they need to do in closed sessions and a small committee may interview the board’s choice of three final candidates. The candidates will be voted on in open session – likely in December.

Williams said he wanted to thank Selzer, who was elected in April of 2011, for his service to the board.

Also during the meeting, the board approved a bowling club for high school students. The bowling club is not a school-sponsored club but will involve North County students. Board members were told that there are more than enough North County students interested to form one team

High School Principal Lance Sprenkel and the school board commended the student council for their work on the Walk to Tackle Heart Disease fundraiser for the American Heart Association.

North County competed with Farmington students to see which school could raise the most money. Sprenkel said North County student council members put in the extra effort to raise money for this community event. North County raised $5,505 but Farmington raised $5,551. A total of $32,000 was raised overall at the walk.

A middle school student, Chelby Carron, gave the SOAR committee report. She said the committee voiced concern about students showing a lack of respect to other students and teachers. They are looking at ways to address the issue. The committee also asked administrators to look at fixing problems in the middle school restrooms.

Also during the meeting, Athletic Director Bill Neubrand recognized several high school students for their accomplishments in the fall sports season. The board approved an amended budget. It was announced the EPA’s high school football field remediation project will begin soon.

Teresa Ressel is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 179 or at

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