Schools hit hard with absences, sickness

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MARION COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – Some area schools have been hit hard with illness forcing them to close. Marion County Schools are out for the rest of the week.

The problem appears to be that people are sick.

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“I’ve heard, flu-like symptoms you have no guarantee of flu obviously, but I’ve also heard of stomach virus and you know just cold and head issues,” Marion County Schools Superintendent Mark Griffith said.

Griffith said that they started monitoring the number of absences after the Richard Hardy Memorial School had to close last week because of illness.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen the trend go downward, not in our favor,” Griffith said.

At the beginning of Wednesday around 500 students and staff were out.

The number later grew to over 600.

There are over 4,500 students and employees within the school system.

And, just at Whitwell Elementary, 117 out of around 500 kids were out.

Griffith said the schools will be deep cleaned over the next few days.

“No one is in the building until Monday morning except for the custodial and administrators. There’s a deep clean throughout. They clean the desks, they’ll clean the doorknobs, the sink areas and all that just wipe everything down with bleach wipes and certainly hope we can recover on Monday,” Griffith said.

Griffith said while they periodically have to close schools because of sickness, he said it hasn’t been this bad in several years.

Richard Hardy Memorial School is on a two-hour delay tomorrow because of sickness.

A county over, Grundy County Schools are also closed the rest of the week because of illness.