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November 13, 2012 | Back to: News

Fir Grove students return to school; illness remains mystery

A majority of Fir Grove Elementary School students returned to school today, but the source of a fast-moving illness that caused about half the students and staff in the Roseburg school to come down with stomach flu-like symptoms Thursday remained a mystery.

After students and teachers fell ill, the Roseburg School District closed Fir Grove Thursday afternoon. The school, which has about 300 students in kindergarten through fifth grades, remained closed Friday and was already scheduled to be closed Monday for Veterans Day.

Fir Grove Elementary Principal Darren Johnson said this morning that attendance today was only down slightly.

“Attendance is a little lower than normal, but certainly better than Thursday,” he said.

Johnson said the school plans to call the families of the students who were absent today and ask why they didn’t come to school. He said the school is curious to find out how many students stayed home because they were sick and how many didn’t come to school because they were afraid of getting sick.

After the school closed Thursday, janitorial staff cleaned and sterilized the building.

Superintendent Larry Parsons said this morning he expected Fir Grove’s attendance to come back to normal levels soon.

Caroline Regan, an environmental health specialist for Douglas County Public Health, said this morning the cause of the illness has not yet been determined.

Specimens from Fir Grove students who became ill have been sent to a lab for testing, but because of the long holiday weekend the results have not come back yet, she said.

Roseburg resident Gina Bryson, whose son attends Fir Grove, said her child didn’t get sick, but she said she was a bit nervous about sending him to school today since the source of the illness has not been determined.

“I sent him because he’s not sick, but we’re all kind of cautious because we don’t know what it is,” Bryson said. “He could be (sick) by the end of the week because we don’t know what caused it. It’s kind of scary. The school has never had something like that before.”

• You can reach reporter Inka Bajandas at 541-957-4202 or email at ibajandas@nrtoday.com.

Inka Bajandas

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The News-Review Updated Nov 13, 2012 11:41AM Published Nov 14, 2012 11:06AM Copyright 2012 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.