Blount County Schools close for illness

Blount County Schools close for illness

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MARYVILLE (WATE) -- The Blount County School System will be closed Thursday and Friday due to high absenteeism for illnesses, according to the director of schools.

System wide, there was about a 14 percent rate of absenteeism on Wednesday. The middle and high schools are the most affected.

Students will return Tuesday, after the Labor Day holiday.

In a letter to parents, Director of Schools Rob Britt wrote, "The illnesses we are seeing range from students running a fever to students being sick at their stomach to students who have upper respiratory symptoms."

The letter goes on to say, "We have been advised by the Blount County Health Department, that when a patient goes to their local physician, a test can be given to determine if the illness is due to flu. But the test does not tell whether it is the 'seasonal' flu or the 'swine' flu (H1N1). The only way to know for sure if it is the H1N1 is for the culture to be sent to the state lab and wait several days for the results. But if you're sick, you're sick."

Some of the afterschool FRIENDS programs will be open Thursday and Friday. Parents must call their particular FRIENDS site to find out if it's open.

There will be an additional $5.00 charge per child per day to use the FRIENDS program Thursday and Friday.

Currently, the Blount County School System doesn't plan to offer vaccines for seasonal flu or for H1N1 flu when it's available this fall.

Contact your local health department or health care provider if you'd like to get the vaccines. 

Administrators closed the three schools in the Alcoa city system from Wednesday through Labor Day due to illnesses and high rates of absence.

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