Escalating absentee numbers led to Magazine School District officials deciding to shut the school down last Thursday and Friday.

School superintendent Dr. Beth Shumate said including pre-kindergarten students there were 124 students absent Wednesday. That amounts to 20.9 percent — slightly more than one in five students.

There is no hard and fast rule for closure but, Shumate said, “(state officials) say when you get to the 20 to 25 percent (absence) range, you should seriously consider closing.”

In addition to students there were six employees out sick Wednesday, which Shumate said was an improvement when compared to recent days.

Shumate said while classes were dismissed district maintenance personnel did a deep clean of the district with PurTabs, a product employed by hospitals to kill germs.

“We know we can’t get ahead of this,” Shumate said Wednesday. “We’ve got to try to get it stopped. We had one student with a 105 degree temperature. That’s life threatening.”

There were wipes used on every desk, door, and locker throughout the district. Also treated were each of the buses and even the sports facilities including Diamondback Arena.

Then workers used a Victory Innovations cordless electrostatic handheld sprayer, the district received from the compnay last winter, to distribute the disinfectant.

Afterwards access to all facilities was limited through the weekend.

“Because those germs can live 48 to 72 hours we want to keep everybody out of the buildings,” said Shumate.

That meant seventh grade and junior high games planned for the arena on Thursday night were cancelled but the school’s teams that were scheduled to go to Mountainburg were permitted to do so.

A band/choir concert planned for Sunday was also rescheduled.

School officials also requested parents wash and disinfect student jackets and backpacks as well as emphasize hair cleanliness and handwashing.

Although they were not required to be in class student were not exempted from work because the two days will be covered through the districts alliterative method of instruction. The district also used an AMI day due to a weather dismissal on Jan. 22.