When asked why wait until Friday if faculty and staff are sick now, Hixson told the Times News the systemwide closure on Friday “is more of a precaution”.
In his Facebook statement, Hixson said, “Due to increased illness affecting students and staff at several school sites, Hawkins County Schools will close all school site locations on Friday, Jan. 31. Although we have maintained nearly 92% or better student attendance since the Christmas break, we are now seeing several school sites dropping to nearly 80%.”
Hixson said many school staff and bus drivers are being hit with both the flu and stomach viruses.
On Tuesday, there were a total of 29 teachers absent systemwide, as well as six school bus drivers and 18 non-certified staff. Hixson said Bulls Gap School and St. Clair Elementary were hit the hardest.
“Our staff will use Friday, Jan. 31 to thoroughly clean and disinfect all classrooms, common areas, cafeterias and buses,” Hixson said. “Parents, please make use of the day and long weekend to allow students to rest and regain some strength while at home. School site staff, please rest and prepare for next week. I appreciate everyone's patience as we have monitored student and staff attendance rates and have collaborated with health professionals.”