More students than normal sick at Citrus Cove

Posted at 12:53 PM, Mar 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-11 05:15:11-05

There's been a higher than normal absentee rate at Citrus Cove Elementary with students exhibiting symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps, according to the Health Department.

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Principal Laura Green says administrators noticed the "significant" number of absentees early this week at the Boynton Beach school. They notified the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County Tuesday.

A spokesperson from the the department of health says its team is working with parents and their doctors to try and diagnose what the illness is and where it originated.

The Health Department has recommended hand washing with soap and water as one of the best ways to prevent the spread of sickness at home and school.

It asks parents and guardians to have a stool test done, inclusive of testing for norovirus.

The school said some staff members have also experienced gastrointestinal illness.

In a letter home the principal said rooms will be sanitized daily where there have been reports of sickness. Common areas will also be sanitized.

Welcome news to parents like David Cedillos who says his first-grade daughter was sick last week.

"She did not have a fever. Just one afternoon, she started vomiting," he explains.

Another parent has heard bad stories about children struggling with the sickness and says he supports the school's proactive approach to stopping the germs from spreading.

"Initially, you're always worried with sickness, especially with gastro-type illnesses," says Ryan Loftus.

Citrus Cove is located on Lawrence Road in Boynton Beach. 1,100 students attend the school.

Dr. Beth Lanning at MD Now Urgent Care says the illness sounds like it's being caused by a virus. She says it's hard to narrow down exactly which one of millions of viruses is to blame.

She reinforces the message that washing hands with soap is the best way to prevent getting sick.

"They spread like wildfire, so that's why I'm really happy to hear the school is going through the painstaking process of cleaning the school and sanitizing," Lanning points out.

Principal Green says students should stay home until they are symptom-free for 48 hours.

A district spokesperson says no other schools are experiencing similar sicknesses.