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Alcoa City Schools plan to reopen Monday after illness | News

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Alcoa City Schools plan to reopen Monday after illness
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(WBIR-Alcoa) Alcoa City Schools plan to reopen Monday after an illness affected dozens of students and teachers.

While classes were canceled Friday, cleaning crews sanitized the schools.

"It takes a little bit of time to do every door knob and every bathroom," said Frankie Brown, day porter for Alcoa High School (AHS).

According to Director of Schools Dr. Brian Bell, 17% of the elementary school kids were out sick earlier this week, as well as 20 teachers throughout the school system.

"I noticed that there were a couple of kids missing and a lot of them were sick, like it was an unusual amount," said Timothy Fisher, an AHS sophomore.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautioned last week that this could be a rough flu season.

According to the CDC Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report, dated Dec. 6, the flu is widespread in more than 10 states. Tennessee is categorized one step below "widespread" as "regional."

About half of the flu viruses right now have mutated into forms not covered by this season's vaccine. But Knox County Health Department Director Dr. Martha Buchanan said a flu vaccination is still the best way to prevent getting the flu.

"People get partial protection, not full protection. So what we'll see is we'll probably see more severe illness where somebody might have been sick just a couple of days, they're going to be sick a little bit longer," Dr. Buchanan said.

Bell hopes a three-day weekend will stop the spread. The schools are within close proximity of each other around Springbrook Road in Alcoa.

"The idea is to get them home, let them get better, and then when they come back together they won't be sharing things with each other," Dr. Buchanan said.

According to the CDC, flu activity usually peaks in the U.S. between December and February.

The Knox County Health Department recommends, besides getting a flu shot, to wash your hands and stay home when you're sick.

Tri-State Christian Academy in Claiborne County was also closed Friday due to illness


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