ANDERSON COUNTY, Tenn. — With winter break coming to a close and flu season in full swing, schools are disinfecting to fight the virus and encouraging parents to do the same.
Anderson County Schools said its custodians have worked all winter break to ensure everything is spotless and free of germs. Teachers are getting their classrooms ready to fill with students and urging parents to take sanitary steps before the end of Winter break.
A third-grade teacher at Grand Oaks Elementary, Claire Bradley, said her classroom can never be too germ-free during flu season.
"Hopefully they won't bring any sicknesses with them in the classroom and we'll keep it nice and clean," Bradley smiled. "We use a lot of Clorox wipes, a lot of hand sanitizer."
Some parents and guardians like Resa Kesterson are bracing for impact.
"We don't want the flu, so I am a little worried," Kesterson admitted.
But Anderson County Schools is bringing out the big guns with a high-power germ sprayer, which it hopes will help cut down sickness.
It's used on desks, chairs and laptops before students start using them again.
Jessica Conaster, the principal at Grand Oaks Elementary School, said the school is trying its best to keep kids well.
"We're working really hard to be preventable," Conaster noted.
Teachers and staff agree the best thing parents can do to avoid sickness is to wash their children's backpacks, lunchboxes and coats.
"As clean as we can make everything, the better, and a lot of times those are things you don't think about washing when you're doing your laundry, so some of them may not have been washed all year," Coaster explained.
Encouraging cleanliness techniques beforehand is a good kick-start.
"I think it's very important that you start good hygiene at home and, you know, remind the children, but the school is really good about sending announcements to remind us," Kesterson admitted.
Overall, the school urges if your child has the flu, use those "common sense guidelines" and don't send them to class for the safety of others.
"I had it last year and it was not fun," Bradley laughed. "Not good at all-- and I would like for myself and my students to just avoid that. I don't want to experience that again."
Anderson County Schools said it sends out alerts to parents if a student in their child's classroom is diagnosed with the flu so they can take extra precautions at home.