Hundreds of students were absent at a suburban high school this week, just two days after several student-athletes came down with flu-like symptoms, prompting the school to postpone its weekend basketball games and cancel Tuesday's classes.
School spokesman Jim Blaney said 800 of Saint Charles East High School’s 2,500 students called in absent Monday. Cleaning crews could be seen scrubbing desks and other surfaces in classrooms shortly after the announcement was made.
“Our custodial staff is performing an enhanced and thorough cleaning of the building tonight,” Blaney said. “The symptoms of this illness are consistent with a stomach virus.”
In an email Monday evening, he added that classes would be canceled Tuesday due to the "large number of student absences."
"Teachers will be reporting for work and will be contacting parents during the day with a few questions to check on how your child is feeling and to obtain information on their health," Blaney wrote. "It is through this information that we'll determine when we will resume classes at East High School."
Though Blaney notes that while many of the students were absent, it remains unclear how many of those students were ill.
On Saturday, Saint Charles East High School was forced to postpone its girls and boys basketball games at North High School after several student-athletes were ill with flu-like symptoms.
“At this moment, the District 303 and East High School buildings and grounds staff are giving East High School a thorough cleaning,” Principal Charlie Kyle said in a Saturday statement.
While it remains unclear what exactly sickened the students, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following to prevent flu-like illnesses as well as stomach bugs:
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you are sick with flu–like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
• While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.*
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.