OUR VIEW: School was closed for good reasonMitchell School District officials made the right decision when they closed down Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, a local school plagued by illness.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
Mitchell School District officials made the right decision when they closed down Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, a local school plagued by illness.
As of Thursday afternoon, nobody knows for sure what caused 130 students — about a third of the student body — to be absent, along with five teachers and two members of the school’s support staff. Superintendent Joe Graves on Wednesday told The Daily Republic the school had received at least one confirmation that a student was suffering from the Norwalk virus, which he said is a fastmoving form of stomach flu. Norwalk is marked by stomach pains, diarrhea and vomiting.
Other test results were pending.
Officials from the school district and the state Department of Health investigated possible causes within the building but came up with nothing.
It’s important to note that the school lunch program apparently had nothing to do with the illness. We have heard rumors that the cause may have been food poisoning, but so far, nothing shows that to be true.
Whether or not the outbreak is related to the Norwalk virus, the best next step is for parents of all students to urge their children to wash their hands thoroughly after using the bathroom. That’s a good policy for always, of course, but this week it’s an absolute necessity that children are careful about their hygiene habits.
Hand sanitizers also are a good idea, as are disinfecting sprays or wipes for around faucets, sinks and other household areas.
The school district has spent time in the past two days disinfecting the Gertie Belle Rogers building. It’s not a bad idea to do the same at home.
This is an odd outbreak, considering the time of year and the quick-spreading nature of the illness, but it’s one that instantly needed attention. The school district acted quickly and appropriately, and the only thing left to do is try to pinpoint the cause for this strange event.