Marion Co. Schools announces closings after hundreds of flu-related absences
While many people are probably over gloomy weather in the Tennessee Valley, officials in Marion County say they're dealing with hundreds of students and staff members who've been feeling under the weather. They're hoping a few days off from school might help.
"We're just trying to do what we think is in the best interest of our students," said Superintendent Dr. Mark Griffith.
He says the decision to close school this week came Wednesday morning.
"During this time of year we see a lot of absences due to flu like symptoms," Griffith explained.
This was after the district recorded nearly 600 absences from students alone.
"We were right at 12 percent yesterday. We were crawling upwards to 15 percent-17 percent. Even since we made the announcement, we've had some more absences," he told Channel 3.
Griffith says it's not just students. They're also seeing absences from teachers and even substitutes.
"One school, in particular, had 11 teachers out in one building. We were contacting substitute teachers and they were out due to the sickness either themselves or their children," Griffith said.
He told Channel 3 that with all the movement that happens, school is an easy place for the flu to spread quickly.
"There's all kinds of transition that happens through out the school building and that's what creates issues for us. The same individual might not be at the same desk all day," he said.
That's why the district is taking the next four days to disinfect all facilities.
"Over the next few days will be [conducting] a deep cleaning within the schools in the bathrooms, desktops, and other areas by custodial staff to try to eliminate any germs that are there," Griffith said.
He's hoping with facilities fully sanitized, faculty, parents and students can return confident that it's clean.
Dr. Griffith says the district plans to resume classes on Monday.
Grundy County is also following suit by announcing the closing of its schools for the rest of the week due to high flu numbers.