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Illnesses Close Knox County R-1 Schools

 By Crystal Howerton 
With two illnesses circulating in the school causing 70 students to call in sick Monday, February 4, and 24 more to be sent home by the end of the day, school officials decided to dismiss classes on Tuesday and Wednesday.
However, the time out was not wasted.  Superintendent D.J. Leverton said, "Basically our concern was we were having kids show up that were sick.  We tried to be proactive by closing school a couple of days to get everything disinfected and cleaned.  We’re disinfecting the buses as well.  Our concern was there’s not much education going on when that many students are out." 
Knox County R-1 currently has an enrollment of 555 students.  In addition, approximately 14 teachers and other staff have been out sick as well, making it difficult to carry on regardless.   Some students were displaying flu-like symptoms including high fevers and chest congestion.  Other students were carrying a gastrointestinal virus, which causes them to vomit frequently.  Having discussed the problem with the local health department and school nurse, it was determined that it was an airborne virus that clings to surfaces.   Therefore, janitors spent those days busy scrubbing desks and tables, and basically every surface in the school.
School resumed on Thursday.  "I’m sure we’ll have kids come back with the virus but they won’t get it from the school," said Leverton.
Knox County is the not the only school to close recently due to illness and, several area schools were closed regardless on Wednesday to due winter weather conditions.