School custodian Brenda Grant works to clean the school in the afternoons to help prevent the spread of illness.

Parents received an all-call message this week from Tipton County Schools in regards to an increase in student and staff illness throughout the district. 

Across the state, reports of flu-like illnesses increased during the last two weeks in January from 1.9 percent to 3.4 percent of the population. 

Tipton-Rosemark Academy Wednesday announced it would be closed Thursday and Friday due to a large percentage of their students and staff reporting in as ill, as have many school districts in the state.

Sherry Yarbrough, the coordinated school health director for Tipton County Schools, read the message in the all-call that outlined the district’s precautions for the flu season. 

“According to the Center for Disease Control the current flu season will last at least six more weeks and that some areas in West Tennessee are experiencing increasing rates of flu cases,” said Yarbrough.  

She also listed three recommended procedures to help reduce flu-like illnesses in Tipton County Schools. 

“If your child is sick, keep them home until they are fever free for at least 24 hours. While they are ill limit their contact with others so that they do not transmit their illness to others, and wash hands with soap and warm water.” 

Yarbrough also added that Tipton County Schools are being cleaned with extra care each night to prevent the spread of germs. 

American Building Maintenance, the company which handles custodial services for Tipton County, was directed to step up cleaning in the wake of recent illnesses. 

“We are using additional disinfectants on hard surfaces and making sure the student bathrooms are stocked with soap,” said AMB employee Brenda Grant, a night custodian in Tipton County. 

Teachers have also reported they have increased their efforts in the classroom by teaching how to cough properly, using more hand sanitizer and cleaning student desks at the end of class. 

Last year, Tipton County Schools made area news with a flu-like illness kept around 900 students home from school sick, about 13 percent of the students with the Brighton area being hit the hardest. 

According to the CDC, young children are more likely to be effected by the flu and flu-related illnesses.  

To prevent this, the CDC recommends that children six months and older receive their annual yearly flu vaccine. 

Teachers at Tipton County Schools have the option of receiving the flu vaccine every year in the fall, and a vast majority take the vaccination. “Before coming to the school, I worked in healthcare, so I take the shot every year and so does my son,” said Tipton County assistant Jessi Renfrow. 

Echo Day is The Leader's managing editor. To contact her, call 901-476-7116 or email