MAYFLOWER, Ark. (KTHV) - More than half of the students at Mayflower Elementary School were out sick on Thursday as the school copes with some sort of bug hitting the building. As a precaution, authorities plan to close it Monday to give students and teachers time to recover.
This all began a week ago with students and teachers calling in sick at Mayflower Elementary. The principal has noticed this particular fall bug usually begins with a bad headache, then develops into a fever, but no stomach upset. She's now urging anyone not feeling well to stay home until they recover.
Tammy Rich picked up her daughters Wednesday at Mayflower Elementary, butthey were in much better shape than they were last week.
"(They) just come home from school with a high temperature, they were down for three to four days," Rich said.
She said her daughter Jordan got it first; then Hannah got it later.
"Started out with a fever and a sore throat, she kind of complained of a headache," Rich said, reffering to Hannah.
And they weren't alone at school.
"We began having absences ranging from the mid 80s to mid-90s Thursday and Friday of last week," Principal Candie Watt said.
By Thursday of this week, Watts said 256 students and 14 teachers were out.
The school has clear signs that many students are missing class, like big gaps in the backpack racks. One teacher said she's gone from having 19 kids on Wednesday to six students on Thursday.
"We actually closed the water fountains down on Monday of this week, we brought in bottled water for the students, we've been disinfecting the building," Watts said.
They're taking precautions to keep those in school healthy. Watts says they plan to close the building Monday as one more way to keep students healthy.
"(This will) hopefully allow students time to get over the fevers and the spread that's going on among family members," Watts said.
Families that have overcome the bug are glad its' over, and hoping it doesn't come back.
"We caught it early and we passed everybody else is what I'm hoping for," Rich said.
The state health department visited Mayflower Elementary on Wednesday to investigate the situation. A spokesman said they've determined this isn't the flu, but something similar. They don't consider whatever the bug is to be severe.
The illness also popped up at Mayflower Middle School as well. Watts says that 127 kids were out sick there on Thursday. However, that school plans to be open on Monday.