Bloomington elementary school shifts to e-learning amid outbreak of stomach illnesses
A Bloomington elementary school had to move to e-learning the rest of the week due to a stomach bug outbreak.
Bloomington Public Schools says dozens of kids experienced a gastrointestinal illness at Normandale Hills Elementary School.
Cleaning crews have been busy disinfecting, and district officials say they’ve never experienced an outbreak this bad.
“We had like 50 sick calls for the same reason, and we were like, ‘Whoa,'” said Hannah Hatch, director of health services at Bloomington Public Schools. “I’ve never experienced it this severe.”
Early Wednesday morning, staff quickly realized something was going around.
“Then as the day goes on all these kids were falling ill at school, too, so we were like, ‘OK, we do have an outbreak on our hands,'” Hatch said.
Hatch says of the nearly 25% of students who called in on Wednesday, at least 15% of them called in for the same thing, experiencing symptoms like vomiting and stomach cramps.
“It was very out of the normal, how many calls they were getting for the same GI illness,” Hatch said.
The Minnesota Department of Health says it has investigated 10 suspected norovirus outbreaks in schools from Oct. 1 to now. Last year that number was just two, and although it’s much higher this year, that’s about average.
“We are not the only district experiencing this right now. Unfortunately, GI illness spreads very rapidly and easily,” Hatch said.
Bloomington Public Schools says this outbreak is a reminder to frequently wash your hands and monitor any symptoms.
“If your student is starting to develop illness, please keep them home,” Hatch said.
Normandale Hills Elementary plans to return to in-person learning on Monday.