On Thursday in Roxboro, North Carolina, a mysterious gastrointestinal illness may have been the cause of 668 absences in the school district, including 300 in the high school.
The gigantic number of absences, amounting to 14% of the district’s student population, followed the absence of 100 students and teachers who were sent home on Wednesday. The Person County School district includes 10 schools holding 5,263 students in grades PK through 12.
Person County’s health department would only say the cause of the absences was a “gastrointestinal illness,” characterized with diarrhea, vomiting and a low-grade fever. Superintendent Danny Holloman stated the district was unclear how many of the absences were directly related to the illness and how many were students who missed school so they would not be exposed to the illness.
The State Health Department canceled every athletic event. Meanwhile, the Person County Health Department and the North Carolina Division of Public Health are testing samples, but there are insufficient samples to draw a conclusion as yet.