OSAGE CITY, Kan. (KSNT) – Osage City Schools will close for the remainder of 2022 due to widespread illnesses throughout the district.

USD 420 Superintendent Ted Hessong spoke with 27 News about the decision to close for the rest of 2022 starting on Dec. 14. On Monday, the school sent out a message stating that more than 40% of the student body is currently absent from school due to a variety of illnesses. Hessong said the number had grown to 46% by Tuesday.

The reported illnesses include the flu, strep throat, RSV and a stomach virus. The loss of nearly half the student population, along with numerous staff members, prompted Hessong to make the decision.

“It’s kinda hard to have school when half the student body is gone,” Hessong said. “We decided it was in our best interest to shut down school for the remainder of the semester.”

The closure impacts the elementary, middle and high schools in USD 420. The school will open again on Jan. 3, 2023, according to Hessong.