120 Students Out Sick At Indiana Elementary School

Health department suspects a viral infection

More than 100 students at an Indiana elementary school were out sick Wednesday because of what health officials believe is a viral infection.

Nearly 30 percent of the population, or 120 kids, at Peifer Elementary School, in the 1800 block of Cline Street in Schererville, were sick, a school district official said.

"We checked out food and milk in the cafeteria and checked to see if any of those kids ate those items in the cafeteria," said Al Gandolfi, assistant superintendent at Lake Central School Corporation. "No problems there."

Gandolfi said the Lake County Department of Public Health suspects an infection likely was spread through a child or staff member who could have returned to school before the illness was completely out of their system.

Parents say their kids were vomiting, nauseous and suffering from diarrhea.

Custodial staff fitted with hospital masks were working through the night Wednesday to spray down every desk and chair in the school, along with disinfecting the soap and paper towel dispensers.

"Our goal is to disinfect today everything a child touches, from a doorknob, to a desk to a computer keyboard, to all of our cafeteria tables," Gandolfi said.

The school is expected to be open on Thursday morning.

"If you have flu-like symptoms, or if you have a fever, we ask that people keep their children home until they're fever-free for 24 hours and those flu-like symptoms are gone," principal Doug DeLaughter said.

No other kids were sick at any of the other schools in the district.

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