A stomach virus has sickened dozens of students at an elementary school in Decatur. The Morgan County Health Department is aware of the outbreak and is working to identify the virus.
Benjamin Davis Elementary School normally doesn't have many absences. On an average day, 10 to 15 students of the 275 total that attend the K-2 magnet school are absent. On Wednesday, that changed.
“Starting on Wednesday, when we saw that our absences increased to around 30, we were concerned that maybe something was going on," says Dwight Satterfield, supervisor of school safety.
By Thursday, they were sure.
“It peaked on Thursday with approximately 60 students,” says Satterfield. “We notified the Morgan County Health Department that morning that we were receiving calls about the intestinal virus."
Satterfield says parents reported intense vomiting for a period of time and then the child gets better. For now, they're doing all they can to keep students from getting sick.
“We’re taking additional steps to make sure that we sterilize the school and school buses,” explains Satterfield. “We’re reminding students to wash their hands and take extra safety precautions in terms of keeping from spreading germs."
Satterfield says the virus appears to be limited to Benjamin Davis Elementary. All of the absences weren’t related to the virus outbreak. Satterfield says some of students were out of school for other reasons, like precautionary measures, field trips or pre-approved absences.
Spring break is next week for Decatur City Schools. School leaders hope when students return, the virus will have run its course.