Nearly 100 students of Victor J. Andrew High School in Tinley Park have fallen ill after a Friday night prom party at the Shedd Aquarium, according to a note sent to parents by the school's principal.
Principal Bob Nolting said 90 of the 400 students who attended prom reported being sick over the weekend. Nolting's note described the symptoms as “stomach flu-like” and said the school is working with the aquarium’s administration and communicating with families to determine the cause of the sickness.
The Cook County Department of Public Health is investigating, he said.
"Clearly, my heart goes out to all our kids and their families who were affected. We have many individuals who work very hard on creating a prom experience that is enjoyable and meaningful. It is saddening to see the excitement of an otherwise positive and memorable event dampened by this situation," Nolting wrote Monday.
The Shedd Aquarium said in a statement that it has contacted its food provider to investigate the "alleged food-related illness" further. The aquarium noted that at this time, it does "not believe there are any safety concerns related to food or drink being served to our guests visiting the aquarium.”
Shedd and their food provider, Sodexo, both said they are both in contact with the school's administration and the Chicago Department of Public Health. Sodexo said it was aware of the incident and conducting a "thorough internal investigation."
Nolting said that while cause of the illness remains unclear, "as a precaution, we will be diligent with building cleaning overnight in the event that a virus may have been introduced into the school as a result."
Nolting requested that parents whose children are sick after the prom call the dean’s office at (708) 342-5894 with information.