Students Become Ill At Lawrence County, KY School

By: Peter O'Connor Email
By: Peter O'Connor Email

More than twenty fifth grade students and two teachers in one class at Blaine Elementary suddenly had to go to the hospital. It has still not known what caused them to get sick.

Blaine Elementary School was dismissed at its normal time, but earlier Wednesday afternoon, the scene was anything but normal. School officials say they had to get more than a dozen fifth graders decontaminated and to nearby hospitals before it got any worse.

Authorities shut down Route 32 so ambulances could get students and teachers from one fifth grade class at Blaine Elementary to nearby Three Rivers Medical Center in Louisa and Paul B. Hall Hospital in Paintsville.

"They said something about needing oxygen, they said they're having nausea and they're throwing up," one parent said.

"Because we felt like this is some kind of exposure, we decontaminated them here, then they were decontaminated again at the hospital just to make sure we got anything that may cause an irritation on their skin off," said Kristy Bolen, Regional Epidemiologist.

School officials say the students and teachers had allergy type symptoms, such as a rash and upset stomach. Officials say they reacted as fast as they could.

"Everything was shut down as a complete precautionary measure to not have people from the community to come into the building if there was a serious problem and then return them back out to the community," said Emergency Management Director Harold Slone.

Despite the incident, school officials say school will start at its normal time Thursday and concerned parents do not need to worry.

"We will however have that one room contained and locked off so there will not be any further entrance into that room until will find more information from the authorities on that," said Assistant Superintendent Joe Hewlett.

Authorities say they will meet Thursday morning to see what the next step will be.

Hospital officials say the fifth graders are doing better and should be able to return to school as early as Thursday.


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