Sevier County (WVLT) As you can tell by the growing list of school closings, the flu and other illnesses are closing more and more everyday.
16% of students in Sevier county were out yesterday.
About a quarter of students at Eaton Elementary in Loudon were out.
Jefferson County is missing about 14% of students, but get this, 25 cafeteria workers were out sick.
Compare all that to Knox County where spokesperson Russ Oaks says only 9% of students are out.
He says normally, about 7% of students are out.
But just because students and teachers are out, this shouldn't be just fun time for all.
School leaders say your students need to spend this time getting some R and R.
And spend a lot of time at home.
Whitney Hicks says, "I had a friend recently who got sick and she's been out for about a week with walking pneumonia."
Hicks is counting her blessings she hasn't gotten what several of her classmates at Sevier County High have been getting.
Schools across the county today are getting a very hard cleaning.
"To throughly disinfect and clean surfaces to make sure we've covered all those areas that may be hard to get to when you have a building full of children."
Sevier county schools made the decision on Tuesday to close today and Thursday after they watched the absentee rate reach unacceptable levels.
Debra Cline, the Sevier County Schools Media Spokesperson says, "the numbers were rising and yesterday the numbers topped 15 percent district wide."
Whitney's mom, Gwen, thinks closing the schools was a good idea.
"If there is one person infected it's going to infect at least eight to ten people just in the hallway."
With intestinal virus and flu like symptoms, Cline says it wasn't just students.
"We've also been having so many teachers absent in the last couple of days that in some cases it's been difficult in getting substitute teachers."
Coupled with a two day mid winter break Friday and Monday, school officials are hoping time will solve the problem.
Cline continues, "that gives us six days for the students to get well. Hopefully that will break the cycle."
For Whitney Hicks, she doesn't plan to see any sick friends.
"I think I'll stay in the house. I think I'll stay away from them."
Cline says all extracurricular school activities have also been canceled.
That doesn't include the district basketball tournament, but that tournament will not be held in Sevier County.
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