For a second time this week, classes were canceled at a Texoma school due to a high volume of students coming down with the flu.

Walters Public Schools has been shut down all week and Vernon ISD closed Friday.

Students’ health and safety are the top priority for Byrd that is why it was a no brainer once there were high reports of absences in area schools. 

Emory Byars is the Vernon School Board president with two children of his own in the school district.

“We were sick two weeks ago so this hasn’t bothered us as much,” Byars said.

Byars said he is pleased with the superintendent’s decision in closing campuses following the high number of absences between this week.

“I know that it’s probably been hard for some teachers and parents to find someone to keep their kids, but for the benefit of the district it was probably the right thing to do,” Byars said.

“Wednesday and Thursday we had some concerns, Thursday we had over 100 absent at the high school we sent some home,” Vernon ISD Superintendent Jeff Byrd said.

Following this, all five campuses are closed on Friday allowing the custodial and maintenance staff to do a walk through spraying chlorine-based disinfectant on everything.

Byrd said this is why his decision was a no brainer.

“In the event that we see a trend where we’re missing 15 percent to 20 percent of our students that’s kind of a red flag emergency,” Byrd said.
In addition to kids being out of school for the flu, there was a concern of not having enough substitute teachers to sit in for teachers and aides who have also been out.

“Between the middle school and high school alone we were somewhere between eight and 12 subs short yesterday [Thursday] and we had the anticipation of more teachers out today and fewer subs available so monitoring and keeping kids safe was a concern for today [Friday] also,” Byrd said.

Both Byars and Byrd are optimistic that with an extended weekend classes will be in full effect starting Monday

The staff will be working Friday through Saturday to clean all five campuses.

Officials in surrounding school districts said they have not seen high cases of the flu in the past week.

Walters Public Schools were closed this week resulting from cases of the flu and should resume on Monday, read here.

To keep up with the details in Vernon ISD, follow this link.