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Board adjusts calendar for schools

The Unicoi County Board of Education recently adjusted the county’s school calendar due to the additional snow day which occurred March 11, setting a new calendar for the remainder of the school year.
According to a release, schools will not be in session on Good Friday, April 22, and Spring Break has been set for April 25-29. Schools will also be closed on May 21.
The release said classes will be in regular session on May 20, which was originally scheduled as a professional development day. School will also meet in regular session May 23, but will be out May 24 for a professional development day.
Report cards will be given out May 25 on the final day of school.
The release said if more days of school are missed due to inclement weather, they will be added to the end of the school year.
During a March 17 meeting, Director of Schools Denise Brown told board members the schools system will distribute informational letters concerning meningitis in the wake of a suspected case leading to the death of an Elizabethton High School student.
The letter, distributed Friday to all students, outlined the signs, symptoms and treatment for both bacterial and viral meningitis.
“Due to recent events in a neighboring county, we thought it would be best to provide students and their families with information regarding meningitis,” the letter said.
According to the letter, meningitis is a disease caused by the inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.
The letter said this inflammation is usually caused by an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
The disease is said to progress quickly, and the letter warned it was vital to be diagnosed and start treatment as soon as possible because the severity of symptoms and treatment options differs between bacterial and viral cases.
The letter illustrated signs and symptoms of meningitis that include the sudden onset of fever, headache and a stiff neck. There are often other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light or altered mental status.
Bacterial meningitis, the more severe of the two, is treated with varying antibiotics. It is contagious, but the letter said it is not transmitted as easily as the common cold of flu because it is not spread through casual contact .
According to the letter, bacterial meningitis is spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions, including actions such as kissing, sharing eating utensils or sharing food and drinks.
Viral Meningitis, most commonly spread through fecal contamination, does not respond to antibiotic treatments, but the letter said most patients recover on their own within seven to 10 days.
The letter and other information will be posted on the school system’s website at www.unicoischools.com.
During the meeting, the board also recognized the system’s 2011 Teachers of the Year for each level.
Martha Stromberg was awarded teacher of the year for pre-K to fourth grade. Rebecca Cable won the award for grades 5-8 and Amy Edwards was named teacher of the year for grades 9-12.