Gastrointestinal Illness Closes Woodland Meadows Elementary Monday


Saline Area Schools Superintendent Steve Laatsch has closed Woodland Meadows Elementary School on Monday, Dec. 11, hoping to stop a gastrointestinal illness in the school.

The district notified parents about the illness Thursday and, in a second communication Friday, informed the parents of the decision to close the school. 

Friday’s communication was signed by Principal Laura Washington, Superintendent Laatsch and district nurse Karan Hervey.

“We initially observed a sudden increase in illness yesterday and that trend has continued into today. We are experiencing an unusually high number of absences related to GI symptoms and students being sent home for illness. In addition, we have learned that one of the individuals affected has been diagnosed with Norovirus. After analyzing the reported absences in detail, we have determined that approximately 30 percent of our second-grade population is experiencing GI symptoms and approximately 50 percent of our classrooms have reported illness,” the letter wrote. “Based on this information and after consultation with the health department, Dr. Laatsch has made the decision that Woodland Meadows will be closed on Monday, December 11th, to reduce the risk of transmission and in an attempt to ‘break the cycle’ during the typical incubation period (time of exposure to onset of illness). In addition, the closure will allow us to continue increased cleaning efforts throughout the building.”

The district asks families to keep students home if they are experiencing symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping. Other symptoms include headache, muscle aches and weakness.

Students showing these symptoms should stay home for 48 hours after their symptoms have stopped.

According to the CDC, norovirus is the leading cause of vomiting and diarrhea from acute gastroenteritis. The CDC reports it causes around 20 million illnesses a year. It causes 465,000 ER visits, mostly with young children, per year. About 900 people - mostly people older than 65, die each year.

The CDC recommends that people with the norovirus illness drink lots of liquids, including water and sports drinks, to avoid dehydration.

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