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All Union County Schools closed, officials blame illness

7:41 AM, Dec 5, 2012   |    comments
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Union County Schools are closing for the rest of the week due to flu-like symptoms causing hundreds of students to call off sick.

"I got a text from the school board... just said Union County schools would be out the rest of the week due to illness," said Paulette Elementary parent Alice Moche.

Officials say they have students and staff suffering from the flu, a flu-like virus, strep throat, and a stomach bug.

"We've had to had to close the schools here before, and there have been other school districts that had to close because of illness, but it's not something that's easy to do," said Dr. James Carter, a supervisor with Union County Schools.

Flu season has come very early this year, especially in southern states.

On Tuesday, 531 students were absent in all seven county schools. A majority of them, 180 students, called off at Union County High School, along with 7 staff members.  There were 123 kids out at Horace Maynard Middle School with 8 staff members sick.   All other Union County Schools also reported a high rate of absences on Tuesday.

"It's not just flu symptoms... it's also the stomach virus and some other viruses that are going around that's making it a hard time controlling," Dr. Carter added.

With state testing scheduled next week in Union County, Dr. Carter said the schools will sterilize hallways and classrooms and try and kill the disease or diseases as quickly as possible.

Still, it is a concern for parents like Moche.

"(My kids) had not been sick, and they had their flu shots... so I'm hoping they don't get sick," she said.

Dr. Carter told 10News to his knowledge, none of these cases are severe enough to bring a student to a hospital for treatment. He added all extracurricular activities are canceled through Friday night.

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