Greenback School closes due to illness

6 News Anchor/Reporter

GREENBACK (WATE) -- A local school has shut down because too many students and teachers are out sick. Greenback School in Loudon County will be closed for the rest of the week.

More than 700 students, pre-K through 12th grade, are enrolled at Greenback School. But this week, about 25 percent of both students and staff have been out sick.

"We had it all across the administration there. The cafeteria staff was hard hit, the principal is absent," says Assistant Director of Loudon County Schools Gil Luttrell.

And while Luttrell can't say if it's the flu, it doesn't sound good.

"Most of the symptoms seem to deal with upper respiratory problems, we've heard strep diagnoses, and sinus infections. We've also seen intestinal issues as well, which was reported back to the nurse from physicians who would see these children that it was very contagious so it was best to keep these children at home," Luttrell says.

Custodians will give the entire school a thorough cleaning while students are away. Meanwhile, in each classroom, teachers have their own stockpile of cleaning supplies.

"What we hope is that people will recover well enough and that there won't be continued spread to new cases of illness," Luttrell says.

So class is cancelled Thursday and Friday, but the basketball games scheduled for Thursday and Saturday night will still be played. Students should be back for school Monday morning.

Other schools in Loudon County also have more students than usual out sick, but nothing comparable to Greenback.

Sevier County schools report no significant absences. Knox County says attendence is higher than expected this time of year, possibly because about half the students took advantage of a free FluMist vaccine last fall.