Illness closes Union County, Lenoir City schools this week

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(WATE) — Area schools in East Tennessee are closing this week due to excessive illness, according to officials.

RELATED | CDC: Flu is on the rise

On Wednesday, Lenoir City Schools announced its schools would be closed the remainder of the week due to an “increasing amount of flu cases.”

“We hope that the extended weekend will allow our students and staff to recover,” officials said.

On Thursday, Union County Schools confirmed to WATE 6 On Your Side that its schools would be closed Friday and Monday due to illness, with school custodians scheduled to clean and disinfect while the schools are closed.

According to Eddie Graham, Director of Heath & Human Resources at Union County Schools, the school system started Thursday at around a 14.5% absentee rate for the students, which is on the verge of their dividing line for calling off classes.

By Thursday afternoon, Graham said the absentee rate went up to 15% as students were sent home. Graham saying that some staff are also sick and it is taxing the schools’ ability to fill with substitutes.

“Custodians will give a thorough cleaning while school is closed,” Graham said. “The extra time will hopefully allow kids to get well and limit the spread.”

RELATED: UT Medical Center sees fourth flu death this year; pediatric state total hits 6

The main cause for illness in question, according to Graham, remains unclear, “Some of this is the flu… some is unknown.”

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