1,000 Students Sick With 'Flu-Like' or 'Gastrointestinal' Symptoms at Virginia High School

1,000 Students Sick With 'Flu-Like' or 'Gastrointestinal' Symptoms at Virginia High School
A file photo of an empty classroom at a high school. (Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)
Mimi Nguyen Ly

A high school in Virginia has canceled all activities this weekend after about 1,000 called in absent in the week, citing flu-like illness and stomach pains, according to reports.

Stafford County Public Schools is located just outside Fredericksburg, Virginia. Its chief communications officer Sandra Osborn said in a statement via CNN that about 1,000 of the high school's 2,100 students are "absent with flu-like/gastrointestinal symptoms."

"Our Health Services team is working with the local health department to identify the root cause of the illness," she added.

Health officials with the Rappahannock Area Health District are handling the investigation into the sudden outbreak.

The school announced on its Facebook page on Friday: "Due to the high number of student and staff illnesses reported this week, all Stafford High School activities and athletics scheduled through Sunday, October 23, are canceled. We will reassess conditions on Monday and provide you with further information."

Principal Allen Hicks told parents in a letter that learning "will continue" and students "will be given ample time to make up any missed work upon their return to school."

"We remained very concerned, and will continue to monitor the situation alerting you to any changes we may need to make to our operations," he wrote. "Our custodial staff will conduct an extensive and thorough wipe down of the entire school this evening. High-touch point area cleaning, along with electrostatic cleaning, will continue throughout the day and evening tomorrow."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), early increases in influenza activity have been reported in most of the United States, with the southeast and south-central areas reporting the highest levels of flu activity.
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