School Sickness Spreads, Parents Urged To Keep Kids Home

(SIOUX CITY, IA) - A nasty stomach bug is floating around Bryant Elementary School keeping dozens of students home the past couple of days. The Siouxland District Health Department is investigating.

Thursday and Friday, about 80 students and three teachers at Bryant Elementary called in sick or went home with stomach problems. The symptoms are highly contagious causing more students to get sick if they don't stay home.
Usually energetic 10-year-old Caleb went home from school on Wednesday with a strange feeling. "I asked my teacher if I could go to the office because I didn't feel right and then I guess I just passed out," said Caleb Weber. He's not bouncing around on his trampoline in his backyard much at all, Which his brother Levi says is "odd." "He's just been pretty quiet and I don't know, doesn't really do too much - not that much energy right now," said Levi Weber. 47 of Caleb's classmates ended up joining him on the "home from school" list yesterday. "It was a pretty outrageous day for everybody," said Caleb. As of noon Friday, 33 more students stayed home or went home with stomach problems. School and health officials urge parents to make sure their kids don't go to school if they have any of these symptoms. "Gastrointestinal illness is called Norovirus and it is highly contagious. And it's contagious person-to-person. It's contagious through food if someone that's ill touches food and then somebody else puts it in their mouth," said Michelle Clausen Rosendahl. Even though most of the students went home with symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, other symptoms like Caleb's are signs to look out for. "Could be just exhaustion. It may or may not have a fever or chills, but just being very, very tired. Very, very dizzy are all possible symptoms. Just feeling nauseated even if you're not vomiting," said Rosendahl. Keeping your surroundings squeaky clean is key to stopping the spread. Most importantly, dehydration is the number one problem. So make sure to drink lots and lots of H2O. After all, Caleb will tell you it's really NOT fun staying home from school. "Boring," he said.
The District Health Department is still trying to figure out what agent is causing the sickness. The health department is even doing lab tests on some of the students.