Reporting Christie Ileto
BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Mass illness. More than 200 students and teachers at Pot Spring Elementary School in Baltimore County get sick.
Christie Ileto explains they all stayed home with the same symptoms.
There are so many children that are still recovering from the widespread illness that one parent stopped by to ask if we were reporting about the “epidemic.”
The big question is: how did all of this happen?
It’s a normal school day at the Pot Spring Elementary School in Cockeysville, but the Baltimore County School Office of Health Services says there’s nothing normal about the number of students recovering from what they’re calling a “gastrointestinal illness.”
“The principal at Pot Spring noticed that there was a high number of students absent and also that they had a higher than usual number of students vomiting at school,” said Debbie Somerville.
The health office says on Friday, about 200 students reported feeling nauseous and vomiting, along with nine faculty members. That’s about a third of the more than 600 students enrolled.
Monday, officials say about 10% of those students are still sick.
“It certainly raised some eyebrows and made us call the Health Department right away,” Somerville said.
The health department was so alarmed with the number of students reported sick, they sent a two-page questionnaire home with parents so they could fill out the symptoms their children experienced.
“They’re looking at numbers, they’re looking at trends, they’re talking to families,” Somerville said.
“What are the symptoms and when did you come down with it?” said Michael Quinn.
Quinn filled out the forms after his daughter became one of the 200 students—something he said wasn’t surprising.
“So many kids were sick on Friday, I figured probably Saturday, Sunday, Monday, we’re going to get it, too,” Quinn said.
The school’s PTA is even reminding parents on Facebook to fill out the forms, even if their child wasn’t ill. The cause in this case isn’t known but the most common cause is not washing your hands.
Some tips to prevent the spread of illness at home: wash hands often and thoroughly, use disinfectant where vomiting may have occurred and stay home at least 48 hours after symptoms stop.