Greene County’s school system will be closed Monday due to the high level of illness within the student and staff population, Schools Director David McLain announced Friday afternoon.

McLain said about 670 county school students were absent Friday, an increase of 10 over the day before.

Central office and ESP will be open on Monday, though.

Greeneville City Schools, meanwhile, are holding steady or even seeing some improvement in their own parallel situation, Schools Director Dr. Jeff Moorhouse said Friday afternoon. There are no plans to shut down any schools in the city system Monday, Moorhouse said.

The Greeneville City School System this week has seen attendance fluctuate day to day between about 94 to 96 percent of the total student population being present, Moorhouse said.

With about 10 percent of the student population of Greene County’s school system absent Friday due to illnesses ranging from flu, strep throat and what system personnel are calling a stomach bug, McLain made the Monday closure decision near the end of the school day Friday.

He said he hopes a three-day weekend might impede the further spread of illness within schools.

McLain said the highest levels of sickness this past week have been in the western end of Greene County, with Glenwood and McDonald elementary schools and West Greene High School being particularly hard hit.

Some 15 percent of students in those two elementary schools were reported as absent on Friday, and WGHS had 141 students absent, many of them because of illness.

That’s more than 20 percent of the WGHS student population, McLain said.

A check by McLain with school system registered nurse Kim Phillips revealed that ailing students this week are displaying a variety of illnesses, some suffering unspecified general stomach complaints, others with diagnosed flu and strep.

County teachers and staff are also feeling the impact, with seven teachers out sick at Chuckey-Doak High School and five out at Nolachuckey Elementary School. Elsewhere in the county the absent teacher numbers are lower, with two teachers out at Baileyton Elementary on Friday, and one each out at Camp Creek and Chuckey elementary schools.

School nurses are also beginning to be sick, though McLain had no exact count of nurse absences on Friday.

Moorhouse said illness may be spreading westward toward Greeneville, something that would be unwelcome news for schools in Greeneville.