There will be no school in Scott County for the rest of the week.
Both the Scott County School System and the Oneida Special School District will be closed the remainder of the week due to illness.
Oneida Special School District students have gone to school just one day this week. The school system canceled classes on Monday due to illness, but attempted to return to school on Tuesday. However, high absentee rates forced the school system to make the decision to close the remaining three days of the week.
Scott County did not cancel classes on Monday, as illness had not struck the county schools as hard by Friday as it had apparently hit in Oneida. According to LeEtta Boyatt at the school system's central office, the system had 93 percent attendance on Friday.
However, that number dropped to 88 percent on Monday and continued dropping through the day as numerous parents signed out their children due to sickness. Many schools reported a difficulty finding available substitute teachers to cover classes due to the high number of teachers who were also reporting sick.
Scott County Director of Schools Bill Hall made the decision to close classes Tuesday and Wednesday, with plans to return to class on Thursday. However, a continuing high rate of sickness forced the county to also make the decision to close the remainder of the week.
Most other school systems around the region are also closed the remainder of the week.
Grace Primary Care in Huntsville said Friday that it had mostly been diagnosing children with upper respiratory and sinus conditions, with fewer cases of flu. However, doctors offices throughout Scott County saw an uptick in patients early this week, with strep throat, influenza and gastrointestinal virus being the primary culprits.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, influenza-like illness is currently occurring at a high rate in Tennessee, along with South Carolina and Missouri, with moderate rates in Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky.
With a large number of school systems dismissing classes due to illness and the relatively mild and snowless winter requiring schools to use only a limited number of snow days, there is precedent for the state to allow school systems to substitute unused snow days to cover the sick days rather than requiring those days to be made up.