Several schools across the Tennessee Valley are closed because of illnesses and flu-like symptoms.
All schools in the Lincoln County and Fayetteville City school systems in Tennessee will be closed Friday. On Wednesday, East Lawrence Elementary School in Lawrence County, Alabama announced it was closing for the rest of the week.
Officials with Lincoln County Schools in Tennessee say 16% of students were absent from the school on Thursday with even more checking out throughout the day because of illnesses spreading around. That's why they decided to close the schools for the day.
Instead of teaching, teachers and staff will spend the day cleaning and sanitizing commonly touched items like door handles and desks.
Elizabeth Looney is a 2012 graduate of Lincoln County High School and her sister, Sarah Anderson, still attends the school.
You touch thousands of things and you're spreading the germs, not covering your mouth whenever you cough," Looney said. "Even a low-grade fever, you don't need to come to school, you should stay at home, because even a low-grade is contagious."
Teacher and robotics coach, Marty LeBlanc, sees dozens of students both during school and after class. She says having so many sick students puts a strain on the system.
"Every time I had to go to the office, there was a lineup of kids waiting to see the nurse. And I do believe we called in a second nurse today because of the number of kids going out," she said.
Over in Fayetteville, the city school district posted on Facebook that it will be closed Friday because of illnesses. It didn't specify what those illnesses are.
We talked to one parent who told us closing the schools is the right thing to do.
"If you can isolate some of the kids that have it, don't allow it a chance to spread among others, and sanitize the building to make sure that none of the germs are still around, I think that's good," said Michael Smith.
The superintendent of Lincoln County Schools told us they are considering remaining closed on Monday, too. He says he will meet with medical staff on Friday to make a decision.
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