FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Concordia Lutheran Elementary and Middle School will close Friday after about 20 percent of its student body came down with what the school said is “stomach flu.”
In an email sent to parents Thursday obtained by NewsChannel 15, school principal Michael Rosin said about 80 students were out sick Thursday. Rosin said the school will use the day – along with an already-scheduled-off Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday – to clean everything.
Rosin said in the email the school does not think the sickness was food-related, adding that teachers who had the same symptoms did not eat the school’s lunch or drink the school’s milk.
In a follow-up letter Rosin said was put together with the help of the health department, the school informed parents of a “possible outbreak of viral gastroenteritis.” The letter explained the virus can spread quickly and asked parents to keep their student home if they have symptoms.
Rosin wrote in the email thread that the school is working with the department to find out if anything may have contributed to the number of ill students. Parents have been asked to fill out a survey to find out the possible cause of the outbreak.
In a statement from the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health, leaders disagreed with the school saying the outbreak was caused by influenza. The health department said it could be a virus:
The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health is working with the Concordia elementary school to investigate a large number of illnesses which are likely attributed to some sort of virus. This does not appear to be influenza. It is likely it may be Norovirus or something similar which is very easily transmissible in a setting like a school. We are supportive of the school’s decision to close on Friday and allow the illness to likely die down over the weekend. We have been working with them collaboratively today on education, cleaning tips, and overall prevention of such virus spread in a school setting.
There are about 390 students attending the elementary and middle school at 4245 Lake Ave.
Concorida Lutheran High School is a separate institution from the elementary and middle school. The high school is not affected by the closure and will be open Friday.