Washington County and Johnson City schools still open amid illness closures

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Feb 4, 2020 at 12:19 PM

As other school districts closed their doors due to illness during this flu season, Johnson City Schools and Washington County Schools officials said they’re faring well in comparison.

“As of yesterday, only one school was at 90% student attendance,” Johnson City Schools spokesperson Debra Bentley told the Press Tuesday. “The other 10 ranged from 92.3% to 95.2%.

“This is exceptional considering the flu season,” she continued. “We have 55 confirmed cases of the flu in grades PK-12. At this time, we are not experiencing any staff shortages in our schools.”

Washington County Schools officials also said the flu is not taking a significant toll on student attendance at this point. Kelly Wagner, the coordinator of the county’s Coordinated School Health program, said the school system is seeing absentee numbers below 8%.

“We are in a good place at this point,” Wagner said Tuesday. “We have our preventive measures in place, and we are much better off now than what we were at this point last year.”

Elizabethton City Schools were closed due to illness on Tuesday and Wednesday, while Sullivan County Schools closed their doors Tuesday. Carter County Schools will also close the remainder of the week beginning Wednesday.

“A high number of teacher absences has led to difficulty in finding substitutes to continue classroom instruction,” Carter County Schools announced on Facebook. 

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