Wyandotte's Washington Elementary School received a thorough cleaning over the weekend -- and again on Monday evening -- after a large number of students called in sick Friday, complaining of flu-like symptoms.
While the exact number of affected students remains unknown, parents said they were told the number is between 60 and 100 students.
Classes were never canceled. School resumed Monday as scheduled.
In addition to sanitizing the building, school officials also notified the Wayne County Health Department, which collected samples from the school for testing.
School Superintendent Carla Harting issued this statement Monday morning:
"Our Operations Supervisor, Bernie Bowers, had five custodians clean and disinfect Washington over the weekend following Wayne County Health Department guidelines. He inspected the building and it is sanitized and ready for the return of students."
Harting updated the media with this statement Monday afternoon:
"Attendance is returning to normal at Washington and there have been no signs of sickness within the building today. We do not know how many students were affected by illness, as not all parents tell us why their child is not in school. Those that did ranged from illness to vacation. Our District Operations Department did a thorough cleaning of Washington over the weekend and will complete another thorough cleaning this evening."
Principal Kristin McMaster first alerted parents of the situation through a letter she emailed Friday afternoon. It reads:
This letter is to inform you that we had an unusual amount of absences from school today, many students with flu-like symptoms. Staff is doing their part within the classrooms to sanitize desks and reinforce hand washing. We have contacted the Wayne County Health Department and are following proper procedures for cleaning and sanitizing the building. Maintenance will be responsible for completing a thorough cleaning and sanitizing of the building beginning this evening. If your child is having flu-like symptoms, please contact our office so we can monitor the number of students with these symptoms. Please keep your child home for at least 24 hours if flu-like symptoms appear and follow up with your pediatrician. Also, remind your child about the importance of washing his/her hands regularly. We appreciate your help and support in keeping our children healthy.
A similar occurrence happened in Dearborn Heights on Thursday when 300 students and some staffers at Annapolis High School called in sick, complaining of symptoms associated with the highly contagious norovirus.
The norovirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, produces often severe flu-like symptoms, and can be spread through a person, surface, or contaminated food or water.
The CDC offers tips for preventing infection and spread of the norovirus, including washing one's hands frequently and thoroughly; cleaning contaminated surfaces; and making sure that an infected person does not prepare food or care for others.