BONIFAY, Fla. (WMBB) – Holmes and Gulf Counties are closing schools tomorrow due to the general state of health of their students and staff.

Holmes Superintendent Buddy Brown said he decided to close schools tomorrow due to a spike in COVID and other illnesses.

“It’s an opportunity for them to catch their breath, for those that are ill it’s an opportunity for them to rest and hopefully heal up and be prepared to come back to work on Tuesday,” Brown said.

Late Thursday afternoon, Gulf County Superintendent Jim Norton said he saw Brown’s announcement and decided to follow suit.

Brown said an increased number of staff members have gotten sick, and that’s had a direct impact on the ability to run district schools with a reasonable number of adults to supervise the students in attendance.

“Then another school called in and they were at 35 percent and then another school was at over 40 percent out today,” Brown said. “And then here in Bonifay for instance we literally have four bus routes that couldn’t be covered.”

Brown said the schools custodial staff will still come to work Friday to make sure the facilities are properly cleaned.

“Now, I will tell you this eleven and twelve-month personal will report to work tomorrow, we still have paperwork to do things that we have to get ready, and we have another cold snap coming up this weekend and we’ll be off on Monday, and those folks are the folks that make sure our buildings are secure, make sure those buildings are ready for situations, so they will come in and work tomorrow those that feel well, that aren’t ill,” Brown said.

It’s up to each school to decide if extracurricular activities will take place.

Monday is a school holiday to observe Martin Luther King’s birthday, so classes will resume next Tuesday.