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OC students back in class; FC dismisses

OC students back in class; FC dismisses
Staff Reporter
The flu has taken its toll nationwide — and local schools haven’t been immune to the problem.
While Obion County students returned to class Monday after a two-day closure due to illness, schools in neighboring Fulton County, Ky., are now closed because of flu among students and staff.
Fulton County schools will remain closed the rest of this week, with all athletic events and extracurricular activities canceled or postponed.
During the break, classrooms, offices and buses will be disinfected.
As of Monday afternoon, about 70 students from among 530 systemwide were absent or went home because of sickness, Fulton County Superintendent Dennis Bledsoe told The Messenger this morning.
Fulton County schools were last closed Dec. 10-11 due to a flu outbreak.
Students in the Obion County School System returned to classes Monday after being out of school due to illness last Thursday and Friday. The closure came on the heels of 541 of the 3,756 students systemwide being absent Wednesday, according to school officials.
Last week’s closure marked the second time in a two-month period that Obion County schools were closed because of illness. The county schools were also closed Dec. 7 and Dec. 10, giving students a long weekend to recover, due to a severe outbreak of flu and strep at that time.
So far, Union City schools have not had to cancel classes due to illness this winter.
In recent weeks, there have even been reports locally of some churches taking precautions against the flu by refraining from asking members to hold hands during prayer or from greeting with handshakes in an effort to avoid the spread of germs through physical contact.
Tennessee is among 30 states reporting high influenza-like illness activity this month. Ten other states are reporting moderate levels of activity. The Centers for Disease Control reported last week that while activity indicators that rose early — such as influenza-like illness and the percent of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza — are beginning to show declines, indicators that reflect severity are now rising.
So far this season, most (91 percent) of the influenza viruses that have been analyzed at the CDC are like the viruses included in the 2012-13 influenza vaccine.
Besides getting a flu shot, the CDC suggests there are simple actions which can be taken to help prevent the spread of illness. They include avoiding close contact with sick people; staying home at least 24 hours after fever is gone, except to get medical care or other necessities, if you do become sick with flu-like illness; limiting contact with others as much as possible to keep from spreading infection while sick; covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; washing hands often with soap and water or using hand sanitizer; avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth to prevent the spread of germs; and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at

Published in The Messenger 1.29.13

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