Despite illness in schools, East Tennessee moms have plea for administrators

Flu activity, COVID cases, along with other illnesses have spread across East Tennessee school systems which have created an abundance of winter sickness.
Keeping Schools Open
Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 12:40 AM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Flu activity, COVID cases, along with other illnesses have spread across East Tennessee school systems which have created an abundance of winter sickness.

But some parents want school administrators to keep schools open.

“I just think it’s so incredibly important that our children get to stay in school,” said Megan Ownby, a mom of three daughters in Sevier County Schools.

Ownby had a daughter home on Thursday with a stomach virus.

“It’s terrible,” said Ownby.

Her family has fought COVID, the flu and other colds in the past two years of the pandemic.

A spokesperson for Sevier County Schools said the district has seen an increase in flu this year.

School officials are still following pandemic-height cleaning practices at Sevier County schools, Tony Ogle, a spokesperson for the school system, said.

Ogle also told WVLT News that the district is facing staffing challenges, especially in bus drivers.

Selisha Corpening noticed the scent of disinfectant at her students’ schools in Alcoa.

“Any time you go into any of the schools they always smell very much clean,” said Corpening.

The Director for Alcoa City Schools said they have more staff than normal out and substitutes are hard to come by.

“I think a lot of the students were behind [from learning loss] and we as parents are parents, but those are their teachers so these kids need to be with the professionals,” said Corpening.

She’s cleaning more at home, cooking and not venturing out to places.

“I think it’s just going to all fall down to the community working as a team,” said Corpening.

A list of school systems responses about illness and what’s being done can be found here.

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