Low attendance at Baldwin Schools results in closure

Illness and quarantine the cause

Baldwin schools closed for two days in August and two days in September, due to low attendance rates. Officials stated that the absences were due to "flu-like illnesses." (Photo by Shanna Avery for the Star)

Baldwin schools closed for two days in August and two days in September, due to low attendance rates. Officials stated that the absences were due to "flu-like illnesses." (Photo by Shanna Avery for the Star)

BALDWIN — Students have been back at Baldwin Community Schools since mid-August hoping for some normalcy, but absence rates due to illnesses and some quarantines has interrupted the regular schedule.

School was closed Wednesday, Sept. 1, and Thursday, Sept. 2, last week, due to a student attendance rate below 75%. Classes resumed Tuesday, Sept. 7.

"Our attendance rate is below the required 75% level required by the state to count as an instructional day," the school posted on the Baldwin Community Schools Facebook page.

The information released by the school said the absences have been largely due to non-COVID-19 illnesses, in addition to some absences related to quarantine due to COVID-19 exposures, but reported no active COVID-18 cases were in the buildings.

The school also was closed because of low attendance rates Thursday, Aug. 26, and Friday, Aug. 27, again, due to some students being quarantined, but primarily due to "flu-like illness," as posted earlier on the school's Facebook page.

The district was notified of one student and one staff member testing positive for COVID-19, who were then quarantined.

The school took immediate action, deep-cleaning surfaces around the school, continuing to require masking, and limiting class sizes along with social distancing, interim Superintendent Mark Parsons stated in a post from Aug. 24.

"We care deeply about the health and safety of our students and community. We require students and staff to be masked at school as this in an effective way to limit COVID-19 transmission," Parsons said.

Baldwin Community Schools Board of Education President, Shawn Washington said the measures being taken are to protect the wellness, health and safety of students and staff.

The school is working closely with District Health Department No. 10 during this time. Quran Griffin, health educator, has encouraged people to safeguard themselves from illnesses going around.

"My best advice to the community is for those eligible to get vaccinated, continue to wear their mask, social distance, and practice good hygiene," Griffin said.