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Virus Keeps 31 Second Graders Out Of School For The Rest of The Year

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(Hardin County, TN) More than 30 second graders contracted a virus while on a school field trip May 12.

The students, who attend East Hardin County Elementary School, suffered from symptoms associated with the Coxsackie virus, also known as hand, foot and mouth disease.

The symptoms of Coxsackie are: fever of 100 degrees or higher, sore throat, stomach ache, and blisters or rash on the body or mouth.

Jennifer Weaver's daughter is a second grader at East Hardin Elementary who went on the field trip and ended up sick.

"I was kind of worried about it at first. But when I was told how they may have contracted it, it kind of made sense," said Weaver.

The entire second grade class rode the same bus on the field trip to Pickwick Southside Elementary.

"She had threw up a couple of times that night, but other than that she was perfectly fine," said Jennifer Weaver.

Within a few days of the field trip, 31 out of 57 second graders were out of school and showing symptoms of the Coxsackie virus.

School officials are uncertain how the students contracted the virus, but one student was sick the day of the field trip and went home from school.

Michael Davis, director of Hardin County Schools, said he doesn't know if there's a connection, but all the second grade students were on the same bus.

"There was one student from this school that was sick on Monday while at the field event. So the parents of that child did come and pick up that particular student on that day," said Davis.

The school's nurse sent out an automated message to parents to keep their children home if they showed any symptoms of the virus, and the company that performs the school's custodial services took extra steps to keep the second grade area sanitized.

"As far as wiping down everything, using the right things to clean with. And they focused primarily on Thursday and Friday in cleaning those particular halls there where the second graders were located," said Davis.

East Hardin Elementary Principal Todd Buczynski said the virus hit just as the school year is winding down.

"School will be getting out on Friday the 23rd. And this has happened right at the end of the year which is normally a busy time anyway. This has made it just made it a little more busy as far as dealing with the absences," said Principal Todd Buczynski.

Doctor Ravi Kudumula, a pediatrician in Adamsville, Tenn., said the Coxsackie virus is not uncommon in children and can last anywhere from four days to a week.

Its symptoms mirror other viruses and should be treated with plenty of fluids, some bed rest and Tylenol for fever.

"Just like we treat the common cold with a fever," said Dr. Kudumula.

The sick students have all been given excused absences and will not have to return to school this year.


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