BATAVIA, Ohio - Batavia Elementary School will be closed Friday because of an unknown stomach or intestinal illness affecting a significant amount of students and faculty.
The school reports more than 200 kids were sick Thursday, and approximately 11 faculty members. As of Friday, the Clermont County Health Department was working to get samples of the students' stool and samples of the school's food to aid them in their search for what led to the illnesses.
School officials say they have not yet determined the exact illness but are suspecting a stomach virus. Officials say they are hoping to find the cause by next week.
Even the superintendent of Batavia Schools says she can't recall having heard of any illness spreading within hours through a school.
"You always have periods with a lot of sickness but nothing that has hit and moved this quickly," said Superintendent Jill Grubb.
Parents were alerted and were able to pick their children up early Thursday if they chose to.
As they started to arrive at the school to pick up their children, parents could tell the school had already started to be cleaned and disinfected.
"Of course, as soon as I walked in the front door, you could smell Lysol," said Heather Swanson, mother of a kindergarten student. "You can tell they are really on top of it. One of the women in the office had said things like this. They don't like to dismiss early because it disrupts everyone's day. So I'm glad they were really on top of it."
Buses ran Thursday as normal for parents who weren't able to pick up their children early.
Through recorded calls home, parents were told about the situation, which is the first time in recent memory that an illness has so suddenly forced a Batavia school to close.
Previously a teacher in-service day was planned for Monday and Tuesday, so children at Batavia Elementary School are not due back in class until Wednesday. Administrators hope that will give sick children a chance to get well before returning to class.
Batavia's middle school and high school have not been affected.
The Ohio Department of Health is helping with the investigation.
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