SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – A whole school had to send home their students for the rest of the week. This time, it’s not so much COVID-19 causing the problem but something else.
Saint Paul Elementary School in Salem has 126 students. As of Wednesday, 42 of them were out sick — a few with COVID-19 but more with another problem.
“We have some kind of gastrointestinal situation going through,” said Principal Dr. Jacqueline Mumford.
It started on Monday, the first day back from Christmas break. About a quarter of the school’s students were out with stomach issues.
“And that day we, unfortunately, had several kids that arrived at school, and shortly after arriving, they were sick. They had stomach issues,” Mumford said.
Those kids were sent home. The problem continued the next day.
St. Paul did report the numbers to the Salem Health Department. Outside of the pre-K kids, it was affecting the whole school.
“It affected families. So if one kid was sick, it seemed like we had the whole group would be getting sick here,” Mumford said.
So the school had to make a decision, no school or remote learning. School officials decided to go with the advice of the health department and the Diocese of Youngstown.
“Because a lot of the gastro-viruses can be passed on surfaces, we actually opted to not do remote and send home devices,” Mumford said.
The hope is within the next five days, the virus won’t be an issue.
In the meantime, the school will go through a deep clean.
The Salem City Health Department said there is no reason to believe that it is COVID-19, but health officials aren’t ruling it out.
“Whatever this is, it kind of came on suddenly. It didn’t match up with any of the foods we were serving or times or grades or classes,” Mumford said.