District trying to figure out what's caused dozens to get sick - KPTV - FOX 12

District trying to figure out what's caused dozens to get sick

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VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) -

Evergreen Public Schools administrators are trying to figure out what caused dozens of students and staff members at Columbia Valley Elementary School to get sick.

A district spokeswoman said about 7 percent of the school's population either called in sick for Wednesday or went home early because they weren't feeling well. About 40 students and staff members were affected, she said. That's an unusually high number, she added.

In a letter sent home to parents on Wednesday, the county's health department stated it didn't know what caused some of those affected students and staff members to experience vomiting and diarrhea. It encouraged the school to take steps that are often used to prevent the spread of viral gastroenteritis, which is commonly referred to as the stomach flu.

One third grade student said he started feeling sick late Monday night.

"My mom brought in a bucket in my room," said Jakob Strunk, 9. "So practically... almost every hour until around 6 o'clock I'd throw up."

Crews spent hours deep cleaning surfaces inside the school Wednesday as a precaution, a district spokeswoman said. Areas like bathrooms, table tops, toys and doorknobs would be disinfected, she added. 

School leaders stated in a letter sent home to parents that the best way to prevent what's going around is good old fashioned hand washing with warm, soapy water.

Students who were sick on Wednesday are being encouraged to stay home again on Thursday, the letter stated.

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