On Your Side: Keeping students healthy as schools close for sickness

Local News

Some schools here locally were closed Tuesday because of sickness. The time students spend at home gives cleaning crews time to get inside and disinfect.

WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel paid a visit to one of those schools, finding out what they’re doing to help keep your children healthy.

The hallways and classrooms of Christian Academy of Knoxville are empty, as they’d been all day. The school is right now closed due to excessive absenses for illness.

“We have kind of a magic number of 10 percent, and when we have 10 percent of our students that are sick or even 10 percent of our faculty that are sick, we start assessing the situation. Yesterday in the middle school we looked at and we began the day with roughly 10 to 15 percent of our students out,” said Rich Fulford, CAK Middle School principal and Assistant Head of Schools. “Students were checking out, by the end of the day, we were about 20 percent right here in the middle school, so we knew that something was very serious.”

Cancelled classes means time for cleaning crews to come in and disinfect. When we visited, they were spraying down the classrooms. 

“We have 6 buildings on campus that house students, so we’re making sure that we hit every area of the buildings and every area of the campus,” Fulford said. “Wherever students can come in contact with any kind of germs, we are going to make sure we do a deep-cleaning.” 

If you’re a parent and your child’s school is closed, the Knox County Health Department is passing along some advice to you: 

“Wash backpacks. Have kids wipe down their books, binders, things that they use in school, share,” said Connie Cronley, epidimeology and reporting nurse for the Knox County Health Department.

Don’t forget to also wipe down computer and iPad screens, as well as keyboards. 

And health officials say you can’t go wrong with some extra cleaning – especially the clothing items you don’t typically wash on a regular basis.

“Throw those jackets, hats, gloves, all that kind of stuff in the wash and go ahead and do some extra cleaning on those items,” said Cronley.

The health department also says to always remember to wash your hands and be mindful of how much you’re touching your face. If you’re at the grocery store – a lot of them have disinfectant wipes – grab one of those and wipe off the handle on your cart. And the health department says it’s still not too late to get a flu shot.
 

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