published Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Hamilton County Health Department officials look into Clifton Hills Elementary School absences

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The Hamilton County Health Department and Hamilton County Schools are investigating whether they need to take additional precautions after about one-fifth of the students at Clifton Hills Elementary School were absent Friday.

About two dozen students were sent home from school, several with a fever, according Sheryl Rogers, directors of health services for Hamilton County Schools. A total of 114 students out of 560 were absent, she said, and close to a dozen teachers also were absent.

Abena Williams, spokeswoman for the Hamilton County Health Department, said they were looking into the absences but did not have any additional information.

Rogers said they will monitor what happens over the weekend to see if any illness spreads to other schools. She urged parents to keep any children who appear to be sick at home.

"I understand the difficult economic times and parents need to go to work, but don't send them to school," Rogers said.

At Clifton Hills, usual precautions such as cleaning the entire school would be taken, Rogers said.

This year has been an unusually light flu season, with Tennessee reporting only sporadic flu cases, according to information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

In Muscle Shoals, Ala., school system administrators decided to shut schools down Friday after a stomach virus kept hundreds of students out of classes, The Associated Press reported.

The superintendent said all city schools were fogged with a disinfectant after students were out of the building. The process will be repeated Sunday, according to AP.

about Mariann Martin...

Mariann Martin covers healthcare in Chattanooga and the surrounding region. She joined the Times Free Press in February 2011, after covering crime and courts for the Jackson (Tenn.) Sun for two years. Mariann was born in Indiana, but grew up in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Belize. She graduated from Union University in 2005 with degrees in English and history and has master’s degrees in international relations and history from the University of Toronto. While attending Union, ...

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