The Polk School District is giving students a one-time break on a policy meant to ensure they are going to school for enough days to learn as flu season continues to affect households across the county.
Superintendent Laurie Atkins sent a letter home to students and distributed it via social media on Friday announcing the one time change for students in middle and high school who face final exams at the end of the year, but are normally limited to a certain number of absences.
So for the rest of the year as flu season continues to impact just about every corner of the United States, the district is giving students a few extra days of absences due to sickness off if necessary if they want to exempt end of the year exams.
Cedartown and Rockmart High students who maintain an 80 or higher in their classes and have missed no more than six days will be able to skip exams at the end of the year, compared to the three they normally get in excused absences each year.
They have to maintain that score through the end of each course in order to get out of taking the end of the year tests in courses.
Cedartown and Rockmart Middle School students will also get extra time, 10 days compared to the usual five, and also must maintain grades in their courses above 80 to get out of tests.
Those in middle school get additional days due to the amount of time they spend in the classroom overall.
"It's mainly an attendance issues to ensure our students are coming to school for the full year," Atkins said.
Atkins said that the goal is to keep students who exhibit signs of being sick at home in order to help lessen the impact flu is having in classrooms and at homes.
She's heard reports from several parents and educators who said students have come to school exhibiting symptoms of potentially being sick in order to be able to keep within the policy requirements, which isn't good for healthy students or educators in classrooms.
Additional steps from maintenance staff have already been taken to ensure that classrooms and common areas for children and their teachers are being disinfected during the weekends, but that hasn't stopped the spread of flu in the district.
So Atkins is asking students who feel they might have the flu to stay put for the time being and get well before coming back to class.
Her announcement on Friday also stated that educators will continue to work with students who are out sick for a prolonged period of time to be able to make-up work as well.