Sick or not, East TN parents disinfecting, cleaning as schools close for illness

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Students, teachers and staff across East Tennessee are getting time off for illness.

More than a dozen schools are canceling classes due to widespread illness. Anderson County Schools closed Thursday and Friday, Grainger County Schools closed through Monday, Hamblen County Schools closed Monday and Tuesday and Hawkins County Schools closed on Friday.

MORE: Grainger, Anderson, Scott schools add to growing list of systems out for illness

Knox and Roane Counties closed through Friday, Sevier County Schools closed Thursday and Friday.

MORE ONLINE: WATE closings page

With colds and coughs going around, schools are working hard to fight germs by disinfecting high-touch surfaces in classrooms and throughout the facility.

Parents with kids at home are also focusing on cleaning during this closure.

For the Dalton family, with five kids, they want everything sanitized by the time kids go back to school, essentially as a fresh start during cold and flu season.

“Everyone is home and no one is sick, which I’m really thankful for,” said Abby Dalton.

This mom of five worries if one child gets sick, the others will too.

“On Monday one of mine called and said she had a stomach ache and so I thought she might be getting flu,” Dalton said. “Because everyone says it starts with a stomach ache, but she’s already feeling better.”

Dalton says Knox County Schools closing this week was needed.

“I was actually relieved because I was anticipating that one of them was going to get sick and so I was really glad when they called out school,” she said.

Since all five kids are home, they’ve been busy disinfecting every surface, even washing lunch boxes and backpacks.

“It’s really stressful and it’s really hard but usually I do really well keeping my kids healthy,” said Dalton.

She’s also keeping her kids home and separating them if one of them shows signs of a cold, “At dinner they have grape juice, they have elderberry gummies, they take something called silver water, they take a probiotic and I diffuse oils in their bedroom.”

Dalton has also put a reminder on her kitchen cabinets for her kid to wash their hands.

“I’m still scared that they’re going to go back to school and there’s still going to be sickness. So, I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing this whole time. It worked last year for us,” said Dalton.

A lot of parents are likely looking for ways to burn off excess energy the next few days, we checked with places kids might hang out. Adventure Action Park telling us everyone they’re seeing is healthy, but they’re disinfecting every mat, trampoline and handrail.

At Tataru’s Gymnastics and Tumbling, employees say they’re having all kids use hand sanitizer on the way in and way out of the gym. If a child shows signs of a cold or flu, they’re told to go home. Employees are also routinely sanitizing all the equipment.

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