St. Charles East High School cancels classes due to stomach virus

On Tuesday, a suburban high school will be closed because hundreds of students are sick.

FOX 32 NEWS / AP — A high school in St. Charles has cancelled classes after a widespread stomach virus caused hundreds of absences.

About 800 of St. Charles East High School's 2,000 students missed class Monday. District 303 spokesman Jim Blaney said the majority reported symptoms of a stomach virus.

"Indications point that way (to norovirus), but we don't have definitive answers from people qualified to make that determination," Blaney said.

District officials became aware of the illness Saturday when 10 of the 14 varsity boys basketball players at the high school became sick overnight. As a result, varsity boys and girls games against St. Charles North were canceled.

The school was cleaned over the weekend after a mass email sent out to parents confirmed that many students were sick. Students that attended school Monday were released by 2 p.m. for further deep cleaning of the school.

Blaney said all of the district's 17 buildings were cleaned with bleach, a method recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to kill viruses.

Classes were cancelled Tuesday after a second mass email that asked parents to respond if their child was healthy and would be attending class.

"One of the key components was asking parents and students to respond to us and give us some information," Blaney said. "The parents have been fabulous in doing so and helped us out a lot — enough that we felt comfortable making some decisions based on that information."

But with maybe half the school out sick, parents are concerned.

“I'm feeling pretty fine, I mean there's a lot of kids at our school that are sick, I mean I had about seven kids per class, but I'm feeling fine, I haven't got infected yet,” said senior Jack Macklin.

“I don't want him there, he's going on a college audition on Friday, I want him to be well for that, if he can just stay home until things get better, I'm gonna feel better. Yea, I don't want him there,” said parent Laura Purdy.

Students will return to school Thursday at the earliest.

Officials said a diagnosis of the outbreak has not been given.

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