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McKenzie Schools Closed Tuesday Due to Illness

By Natalie Potts
By npotts@wbbjtv.com

CARROL COUNTY, Tenn.- Thanksgiving holiday will come one day early for hundreds of Students in McKenzie do to an extreme illness.

Officials from the McKenzie Special School District have decided to close their elementary, middle and high schools early. Instead of the holiday beginning this Wednesday, it will start Tuesday because so many students and teachers are out sick with flu- like symptoms.

Officials said the virus has been going around for more than 3 weeks. Nearly 180 kids are out sick from the McKenzie School System.

"I think they are doing a good thing by closing it instead of spreading all around over the country," said parent Charles Ross. "Young children, they take it home and it goes through the family."

Out of the 540 students in McKenzie Elementary, 83 students and three teachers are absent due to illness. Officials said there are 77 students and eight teachers out at McKenzie Middle and nearly 20 students sick at McKenzie High, including the high school's principle.

"It's spreading all over our church all over our schools and everything right here and it's just an epidemic," said Ross.

So many teachers are out, school officials said there are not enough substitutes teachers in the area to fill in. Parents said they believe part of the problem has stemmed from kids going to school sick.

"If they run a little fever you need to keep them at home til they make sure that they don't have no fever," said Ross.

Students and parents, sick or not said they are just thankful to have an extra day.

"I think its just proximity of all the children together every day like this," said parent Jody Price. "They are already missing three days anyway for Thanksgiving. An extra day doesn't seem like a problem to me."

So far, only the McKenzie Special School District has reported a serious outbreak.
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