Sickness Leads To Early Closing

Shenandoah Schools Begin Break Today

Posted: December 21, 2012

HARRISONBURG — Shenandoah County Public Schools are closed for winter break beginning today, one day earlier than scheduled, because of low attendance.
Superintendent B. Keith Rowland said the decision was made as attendance dropped below 90 percent this week.
He cited illness as the main reason for the absences.
“It’s mostly the flu or a combination of stomach flu and upper respiratory [trouble],” he said. “It’s all leading to a fever and if they have a fever they are very contagious.”
Rowland also said that some students have been attempting to come to school while sick, exacerbating the problem.
“We just felt like this was probably a good time to let students try to get well,” he said.
Shenandoah County Schools will reopen Jan. 3.
Administrators with Harrisonburg and Rockingham County schools said they also noticed a spike of lower attendance in recent weeks, but nothing that affects the divisions’ schedules. Rockingham dismissed for winter break Thursday and Harrisonburg students will be released today.
“It’s been somewhat isolated,” said Rockingham County Assistant Superintendent of Administration Doug Alderfer, noting that some schools were hit harder than others, mostly last week. “This week it has been pretty much normal.”
In Harrisonburg, Superintendent Scott Kizner said over the past two to three weeks he noticed an increase in the number of student and staff absences due to sickness.
“It has just been gradual,” Kizner said. “I hope everybody gets better and healthy.”
Contact Kaitlin Mayhew at 574-6290 or or Emily Sharrer at 574-6286 or

NDN Video News