S.P. Morton Elementary staff, students sick with virus

Published 5:19 pm Friday, September 10, 2010

FRANKLIN—A dozen staff members and several students at S.P. Morton Elementary School have been sickened with viral-like symptoms over the past two days.

Principal Don Spengeman said 12 staff members, including some teachers, were out on Thursday with a virus. There were 10 staffers out on Friday, but he said some were new cases and others were continuing ones. He said four substitute teachers were called in on Thursday.

“There have been pockets of a flu bug going around,” Spengeman said Friday. “From what (school nurse) Starr Harris understands, the way this bug is hitting places, we will probably be free of it Monday. If people haven’t gotten in by now, by Monday we won’t have any more cases.”

Dr. Michelle Belle, the superintendent for Franklin City Public Schools, confirmed that a virus had been circulating at S.P. Morton, and added that school officials had been in contact with the city health department.

“Apparently there have been pockets of this virus going on in the city for the past couple of weeks,” Belle said Friday. “It comes just as quickly as it goes.”

Belle added that the virus had not affected the other two schools in the division, J.P. King Middle School and Franklin High School.

“I haven’t heard of anybody being out at the other schools,” Belle said. “It’s really just been at the elementary school.”

Symptoms reportedly included nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and sore throat.

“Some people had fever with it and some didn’t, so it seems to have affected people differently,” Spengeman said.

The principal said 22 students were out sick on Thursday, but that figure included students who were out for other illnesses not related to the virus. Although a final attendance figure had not yet been calculated for Friday, Spengeman hinted that the virus might be slowing.

“I haven’t seen anybody coming to the (school) clinic today,” he said.