Elizabethton City Schools to close tomorrow and Friday due to illness


Elizabethton schools are closing tomorrow and Friday due to illness, officials confirmed Wednesday afternoon. 

A statement from Elizabethton City Schools cited a “high number of students and teachers who are absent.” Classes are scheduled to resume on Monday. 

“We hope this will help prevent the spread of illness, and we will continue to clean and sanitize our schools during this time,” Director of Schools Corey Gardenhour said. “We hope everyone that’s out sick will make a full recovery.”

The district will subtract the missed days from stockpiled inclement weather days. This will not affect the district’s calendar and no adjustments will be made for the rest of the year at this time, a press release said.

Elizabethton schools will have one more inclement weather day for the rest of the school year. 

Surrounding school districts haven’t closed for illness yet this season, and most are reporting normal to above-average absence numbers. Johnson City school officials reported “no significant flu absences,” while Carter County Director of Schools Kevin Ward estimated a 10 percent absentee rate this week, which he said was “a little high.” 

Unicoi County Schools are reporting a 92-93 percent attendance rate, which doesn’t indicate heavy sickness in schools, Director John English said. Unicoi County schools have closed in the past when attendance rates dropped to 82 percent, he added. 

Elizabethton schools follow suit of other Tennessee school systems that have closed this week due to illness. Scott County Schools, northwest of Knoxville, closed today for the rest of the week. 

Knox County Schools announced on Twitter that schools would be closed for the rest of the week with classes resuming on Monday. 

The Tennessee Department of Health’s most recent report is from Jan. 20-26, and shows trends increasing for reported influenze-like illness over the past few weeks. Data for East Tennessee show 89 reported cases of influenza-like illness with four of the nine sites reporting data for the week. 

The Center for Disease Control lists flu symptoms as: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue and diarrhea and vomiting in some people. Symptoms are usually sudden, and not everyone who get the flu will have a fever. 

People with the flu are most contagious in the first three to four days after the onset of symptoms, but some people may be able to infect others one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick, the CDC reports.

The CDC recommends an annual vaccine in addition to every day preventative actions like frequent hand-washing, covering coughs and sneezes to keep yourself safe from illness. 

This story has been edited to add more information as it comes in. 

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