Knox County Schools announced they would be closed on Monday and Tuesday for illness, joining a growing list of schools telling students to stay home for that reason.
The desks are empty and the classrooms are quiet in a number of schools across East Tennessee.
“The doctors in town thought it was best to close school for four days to let the kids and the teachers get over the illness,” Mike Sims, supervisor of support personnel at Lenoir City Schools, said.
Sims said the decision to close school for four days came down to low attendance numbers, with many students out sick with the flu or a stomach virus. Even more troubling to operations, schools had several unhealthy teachers and not enough substitutes.
“When you have five or six teachers out at the elementary level, then three or four at the middle school, and six or eight at the high school, substitute teachers are hard to find and it makes it tough to hold class,” Sims said.
As the students and educators rest up at home, custodians are busy at work cleaning the schools from top to bottom.
“We come in with a fogger and fog every inch of the whole building,” Sims said.
Crews deep clean the classrooms and hallways, targeting the germiest spots, like the carpets, the door handles, and the water fountains.
They hope that by Tuesday, class will be back in session.
“I hope we’re back in school until we finish in May,” Sims said.
Loudon County, Lenoir City, Union County, McMinn County, and Newport Grammar School will remain closed Friday and Monday.
Alcoa City Schools and Monroe County Schools decided to stay closed through Tuesday.