MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) – Nearly 140 schools closed Friday between the flu spike in the last few weeks and the snow overnight.
“Fortunately my kids have not been ill, but I’m a girl scout leader, a lot of them were sick, basketball team a lot of them were sick, and a lot of the boys’ friends they were sick, and teachers,” said Mt. Juliet Parent Karen Brown.
The sickness is the second spike of the flu this season in addition to a stomach virus and strep, causing dozens of schools across Tennessee to shut down in the last week.
“A good gauge on the needle is if 10% of our overall students and staff are calling in sick for various sicknesses,” said Bart Barker, spokesperson for the Wilson County School District, where they closed three days last week into this week.
Parents like Brown were not expecting another day canceled Friday, but a winter weather advisory prompted nearly 140 schools to cancel classes.
“Above all, safety is the most important thing for our teachers, our staff, our students, our bus drivers, who start very very early in the morning… parents who may be driving their kids to school,” Barker explained.
“It’s not easy for a lot of parents who have to take another day off work, and that’s four days in the last two weeks, and if you’re not able to have daycare and you have to stay home, that could mean a day without pay,” Brown said.
The Tennessee Department of Education told News 2 each district has at least ten stockpile days they can use for sickness, weather, or professional development.
If those days go over, they’ll then have to make up days in some capacity.
“We understand that that does cause inconveniences for some families out there, we acknowledge that we have to look at the whole picture,” Barker said, “Above anything is safety for all teachers and students.”
For a list of school closings, click here.