(KMTR) -- On Thursday about 150 of the 320 students at Fir Grove Elementary were either absent due to sickness or sick at school and many of the teachers came down with the symptoms as well. The main symptoms of the illness were vomiting and diarrhea.
With so many ill, superintendent Larry Parsons sent everyone home, hoping the long Veteran's Day weekend would lend enough time to clean the building. Custodial crews from all over the district came in to sterilize the school. They used a high concentration bleach solution to clean every surface.
"With a lot of classrooms and hands everywhere there's a lot of surfaces, so it took that many crews, that many people and a lot of time to get all the surfaces cleaned," said the school's principal, Darren Johnson. He had never experienced a situation quite like this before. "I've dealt with illnesses of students and, of course, when you get a whole bunch of people in a building together, it happens. But not to this degree, no. It was a bit alarming for us."
Tuesday 34 kids were absent from school, which is just slightly above average. The school is calling families to see if they are still sick or if their absences are unrelated.
The County Health Department is still trying to determine what caused the illness, but they suspect it was a norovirus. They've taken samples and will hopefully have results in the next few days.