On October 10, 1918, Officials of the Georgia State Board of Health suggested that local health boards close schools, churches, theaters, motion picture shows and other places of public assembly because public meeting places are the hatchery of influenza germs. On October 14th 1918, we see the first official closings of the public schools in Americus. The school is to be closed for one week and a possibility of being extended for another week. At this time, about 100 cases of influenza were known but the situation was still not showing much alarm. On November 4, 1918, Dr. Bond issued a statement allowing schools and other places of public gathering to open unless unfavorable conditions arise in which an extension shall occur. The ban on public gatherings and re-opening of schools was extended on November 4,1918 with Superintendent Mathis and Dr. Mayes confirming the decision. On November 21, 1918, the Americus Times Recorder reported of a conference between Hale and Supt. Mathis on a resumption of school sessions as soon as the band is lifted. "This is the sixth week the schools have been closed, and the school officials have a problem to solve in arranging the work for the remainder of the school year. However, they have arrived at the consolation in eliminating some of the less important work in the established courses."
On December 1, 1918, the plan was to resume school sessions on the next Monday and the opinion was heavily in favor of the re-opening but there was a general feeling of caution and they made sure to mention that no children should be attending school if influenza was in their homes. Mathis with the assistance of Principle Hale arranged for completion of the regular school work by eliminating nonessentials and by the consolidation of work. All required work can be made up without the employment of extra time, so that the pupils will lose no part of the year’s credit. A week had passed and they were seeing a slip in attendance for school. The Grammer School, High School, and East Americus School all had very low attendances on Friday, the week of December 8th. There were no exact numbers on the African American schools but Mathis said attendance was down to 50% for them. On January 21, 1919, a formal discussion with Dr. Bond about reinstating the ban on schools and public gatherings took place. Nearly 250 new cases had risen in the county. The Next day, the ordinance prohibiting all public gatherings and school sessions was passed and effective immediately. Among those who objected to the closing order were the school authorities, including Superintendent Mathis and Americus High School principal Charles M. Hale. School officials took the position that the conditions in the schools are sanitary and that, because of the care taken, the contagion is not spread there. On February 5, 1919, work was advised by Principle Hale to be done at home by the students. This is a statement of his published in the Americus Times Recorder, "Attention of High school pupils and parents is called to the fact that a certain amount of work can be done by the pupils at home while the schools are closed. This is especially true of English literature and reading in Spanish." Seniors that expected to be graduated or other pupils that expected to be promoted this year are advised and urged to read all of the following books of their respective grades.
Finally, On February 20, 1919, the Times Recorder reported that City schools will re-open Monday. Telegrams were sent out to teachers of the schools instructing them to report for duty on that date. work in the high school has not been completely stopped by the closing, although greatly interfered with. Officials and teachers will redouble their efforts to make up for lost time as nearly as possible.
An anonymous writer of the Americus Times Recorder, questioned if the students had learned enough to progress them to the next level during the pandemic. An official publication from the University of Georgia says that “the most satisfactory results are secured by not closing the schools but by keeping them open and giving daily inspection of each pupil." The writer understands that no one can be blamed but asks an important question, What about the welfare of our children?"