Superintendent: Absences back to normal at Beartooth Elementary

2011-09-12T10:08:00Z 2011-09-12T23:50:05Z Superintendent: Absences back to normal at Beartooth Elementary

By CINDY UKEN

Of The Gazette Staff

The Billings Gazette
September 12, 2011 10:08 am  • 

Only 22 Beartooth Elementary students called in sick Monday, which is below the normal rate of students who miss school, causing Superintendent Keith Beeman to call it a “great Monday morning.”

The low rate comes after nearly half the students called in sick Friday as officials from RiverStone Health, the county’s public health agency, continued to search for what caused the illness that plagued the school for two days.

About 230 students were absent Friday, up from the 100 who called in or went home sick Thursday with symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The school is home to about 460 pupils. On average, 40 students are absent each day at the school.

“We’re saddened and disappointed that any of our children were ill,” Beeman said. “But we’re glad it was quick.”

District custodians cleaned Beartooth on Thursday. During the weekend, custodians were called in from throughout the district to clean again with an alternative cleanser.

“That school is clean from stem to stern,” Beeman said.

RiverStone Health sent an environmental health sanitarian to the school to investigate, although a cause has not yet been determined. Beeman said he is “very appreciative” of RiverStone’s quick response.

RiverStone Health sent stool samples from some sick students to the state health laboratory on Monday. There is no word on when results will become available.

Contact Cindy Uken at cuken@billingsgazette.com or 657-1287.

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