Charleston schools close because of illness

Charleston schools close because of illness
By: Ryan Tate

CHARLSTON, Mo. - Charleston students get an early holiday gift Tuesday, after district leaders canceled classes for the rest of the week. Healthy students were happy, those feeling sick probably unhappy they got ill.

According to Charleston Superintendent Kevin Miller, more than 230 students called in sick Tuesday, approximately 22% of the student population. Miller said most had fever symptoms, upset stomachs, and aches and pains. According to a nurse practitioner in Charleston, more than 100 students visited her clinic Tuesday with those symptoms.

"Some think they have the flu, but we have only confirmed 10 people actually have the flu," Margaret Dicus said. Dicus says the clinic usually averages about 20-30 students a day. She adds that doctors in other towns have begun seeing students from the Sikeston, East Prairie and Kelly districts.

Miller says the district's maintenance staff will begin cleaning all of the district's building over the next five days, scrubbing water fountains, door handles, light switches, floors and other places where illnesses may be spread.

"In 28 years I have probably seen something like this only once," Miller said.