School sanitized after students report stomach bug symptoms

Florida Department of Health in Duval County investigating

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health in Duval County is investigating after multiple students at an elementary school reported symptoms of a gastrointestinal illness.

Duval County Public Schools told the News4Jax I-TEAM on Friday that several parents of Bartram Springs Elementary School students reported that their children were experiencing similar symptoms of GI, such as nausea and vomiting. 

"I was throwing up a lot and my stomach was ill. I would get a lot of headaches and I couldn’t drink a lot of water or else it would make it worse," said a fifth grade student at Bartram Springs Elementary. 

The school district said a message was sent to parents, asking them to not bring their children to school if they were experiencing symptoms. Parents were also told the Florida Department of Health in Duval County had been notified, and the school near the Duval-St. Johns county line was being deep cleaned and sanitized as a precaution.

“I have three kids at the school, and no one has been sick,” said Beth Hutchins. “My oldest son's teacher went home with a stomachache, but that's all that I've heard.”

As of Friday, there was no determined cause, said DCPS Strategic Communications Director Laureen Ricks.

Last week, according to the school district, students at Jacksonville Beach Elementary School were reporting similar symptoms.  

“At this time, I’m not aware of any other schools that have multiple students experiencing GI symptoms, but I know that last week there was a report of students experiencing GI symptoms at [Jacksonville] Beach,” Ricks said.

The Department of Health confirmed it was investigating a complaint at another school. A Department of Health spokesperson also told the I-TEAM that there have been more than a dozen students reporting symptoms, but it did not have an exact number as of Friday.

"We are actively investigating the incident and trying to pinpoint the cause. DCPS acted appropriately by disinfecting the school and notifying parents of the issue," the spokesperson said.

Parents were encouraged to report symptoms by calling the front office at 904-260-5860. Parents can also contact the Department of Health at 904-253-1850 for more information. 

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