Berea Independent schools are off Wednesday because the girl's basketball team is taking part in the All "A" Classic competition.

However, this day off has come as a blessing, according to Berea Independent Superintendent Diane Hatchett. This is because the Berea Independent district is facing an onslaught of absences caused by both the flu and strep throat.

Hatchett explained the district as a whole is dealing with only 86% of students in attendance. She said that last week, they struggled to hit 90% attendance all week.

"We've been hit hard," Hatchett said. After the day off, Hatchett said, school will return to normal on Thursday, and the district will deal with the absence issue, if it is still such an issue. There is a possibility that Berea Independent schools will close due to absences on Friday.

Madison County has not been hit as hard as Berea Independent, it seems. Erin Stewart, community education director, said that percentages district wide are around 93%, which is a slight drop from their normal 95-96%.

"We're not seeing a whole lot to be concerned about," Stewart said. She noted, however, this could change on a dime.

According to our news partners, WKYT, on Jan. 15, there were three Kentucky schools closed because of low attendance. Lawrence County was closed for Jan. 15, and Wolfe and Owsley county schools were closed for the rest of the week.

Model Laboratory school will have its first day back in session Wednesday since Friday, so there are no absences or attendance issues collected for this week, according to Kristi Middleton, executive communications director. The school was closed due to an issue with heating, which has been fixed.

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