Limestone Community School. Credit: Melissa Lizotte / Aroostook Republican

LIMESTONE, Maine — An Aroostook County elementary school has been closed this week, after an overwhelming number of staff members were too ill to work.

Limestone Community School Principal Ben Lothrop confirmed his school has been closed because a nasty flu-like bug has run rampant among staff — including himself.

The pre-kindergarten to eighth-grade school has approximately 38 staff members, including secretaries and custodians. So far this week, nine of the school’s 14 total full-time teachers were out sick, prompting the school to close.

“It is a matter of mostly teachers, but some other staff too that have been out sick, myself included,” Lothrop said during a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon. “Our hope is that we can get back to regular classes on Thursday, but it depends on how many staff members are still out.”

Lothrop said that while the district has made every effort to fill vacancies with substitutes, it had reached the point where too many teachers were out to make the educational process viable for students.

“It would not be educationally profitable, safe, or healthy for us to do otherwise. I assume we have many students still sick as well,” he said.

Lothrop said there has not been any discussion on how the missed school days would be made up, but the administration would convene, when it was safe to do so, to discuss its options.

“I want to personally thank everyone for their understanding and patience during this time,” Lothrop said. “I realize it can make for a hardship for families, and it’s certainly frustrating for us.  Hopefully we can get the bulk of teachers, staff and students past this and be back in session Thursday.”