Hundreds of students missed school; confirmed case of norovirus at Creekside High School

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Update 12/11/2019 - The Creekside High School administration sent an email out to families explaining that attendance was back to normal at the high school, and that the Health Department confirmed a case of norovirus at the school.

Here is the email sent to families:

“Good Afternoon Knights Families,

Today’s attendance and check outs were back to normal. This is just an update that this afternoon the Health Department did confirm a case of Norovirus and we have attached a Norovirus Frequently Asked Questions document for you if needed. Staff has used and will continue to use a phenolic-based disinfectant to wipe down surfaces that students and staff would typically come into contact with such as door handles, desktops, etc. We have also used an electrostatic sprayer (Fogger) inside classroom spaces last weekend and are doing this again this week. This machine utilizes a chlorinated-based disinfectant. Both products are designed to kill Norovirus, Flu, MRSA, GRSA, HIV, Hepatitis A, B and C, Rhinovirus, etc. The fog-based disinfectant is also a food-grade sanitizer and non-toxic.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding.”

—  Creekside Administration

Original Story 12/9/2019 - Action News Jax saw plenty of kids walking and biking to Creekside High School Monday morning, but the school district said 271 students still weren’t at school after 19 kids got sick Thursday.

Garrett Alberts was one of the few students who showed up on Friday. The school district said 76 percent of the 2,300 Creekside High School students stayed home.

“It was weird, very weird, to be in a school that normally has 2,000 people and your hallways were empty. It was crazy,” Alberts said.

RELATED STORY: More than 150 students, teacher sent home sick from Creekside High School

RELATED STORY: Amid spreading sickness, 76 percent of students miss school at Creekside H.S. Friday

Action News Jax saw a trickle of cars turning into Creekside Monday after school started for the day. Two parents said their kids weren’t feeling well so they picked them up. Another parent and student said they weren’t taking chances if more kids are sick.

Action News Jax learned attendance was normal at Bartram Trail High School Monday. Parents checked out 650 kids on Friday after hearing about the situation at Creekside High School. That was despite no uptick in sick kids at Bartram Trail High School.

“It’s not the school district’s fault, it’s just something that happened,” Creekside High School grandparent, Raymond Pellar, said.

The school district said both schools were deep cleaned and sanitized -- Bartram Trail just as a precaution.

“I kept my hands clean, I washed. I carry around hand sanitizer so I kept my hands clean overall,” Alberts said.

Action News Jax asked the school district and health department if they've confirmed what illness caused kids to get sick last week.

They said they had norovirus-like symptoms.

Both the health department and district said they do not have confirmation yet.