Due to increasing absentee numbers because of illness, the Monroe County School System has announced it will be closed Thursday and Friday.

Director of Schools Tim Blankenship released the following statement this morning:

"We have been closely monitoring our absenteeism over the past week due to an increase in illnesses including flu, strep, and stomach virus. Despite increased efforts by our staff to sanitize classrooms, we have seen a dramatic increase in student and staff absentee rates over the last several days. Our countywide student absenteeism rate has increased from 11 percent on the morning of Monday, Feb. 4 to 15.15 percent on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 6.

Because of these illnesses, Monroe County Schools will be closed Thursday, Feb. 7 and Friday, Feb. 8.

No activities will be held in our buildings from Thursday through Sunday.

Students and teachers will return to school on Monday, Feb. 11."

Blankenship also said 53 teachers were also out sick today.

The Sweetwater City School System will remain open, however, according to Director of Schools Rodney Boruff. He said the system's attendance rate is still at 95 percent.

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