KNOXVILLE (WVLT) -- More than 50,000 Knox County students were off school on Thursday, leaving thousands of parents struggling to find a place for their children to stay while they're at work.
Among the places taking kids in was the Westside Learning Center, which serves children from 12 months old up to 12 years old.
School-aged children are typically only there after school, but when the doors are closed at their place of learning, parents have to take advantage of Westside’s open doors.
"I'm off of school because a lot of kids have the flu," said Megan Colley, a second grader at West Hills Elementary who spent Thursday at Westside. "We're just staying here if our parents have to go to work."
"My mom is just at work and there's a lot of sickness going on," said Devon Lebo, a West Hills first grader.
Thanks to daycare centers, parents have an option for what to do when the school day gets called off.
The doors to Westside opened at 6:45 AM Thursday, allowing working moms and dads to drop off their little ones on the way into the office.
"Everybody either has to go to work or go to class, and I don't know what parents do that don't have some place to go when school does let out," said Wendi Parker, owner of Westside.
Many daycares were also closed on Thursday because Knox County was closed.
According to Parker, she has not had to close because they were not hit with the flu outbreak, thanks to her staff and their throughout cleaning.
"We have real strict guidelines for washing hands and sanitizing everything including the air, all the time,” she said. "We also ask the parents to be really vigilant, especially right now, about not bringing them in if they even think they're getting sick."
So while parents were hard at work on Thursday, many were able to rest easy knowing their children were safe at play at daycares like Westside.
The Boys and Girls Club is among several after school daycares that remain closed while Knox County Schools are out.
If you're looking for a place to take your child while school is out, Westside Learning Center does take drop-ins starting at 6:45 AM if they have room and you're willing to fill out the enrollment forms.
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