Gibsonburg School District closes due to illness

GIBSONBURG -- All activities in the Gibsonburg School District are canceled for Wednesday and Thursday. The superintendent has also closed school.

He says us nearly two dozen of his teachers and staff called in sick Wednesday. Superintendent Tom Pieffer says the majority of the 22 teachers and support staff work at the elementary school. That's why that school was closed this morning, and why the Sandusky county health department is trying to figure out what they have and where it came from.

Officials originally thought the teachers might have the flu, but have since ruled that out. They're looking into other viruses and even food poisoning. Samples from the teachers have gone to the state health department for analysis. Results are expected sometime next week.

Superintendent Peiffer said wednesday, "No one was here today at Hilficker Elementary. There weren't enough teachers to have school."

Students, like Brandon Wilson, were pretty happy. However, parents had a different reaction. Parent Lisa Farris said, "It caught us off guard. We were surprised."

So was the superintendent of schools Wednesday morning when teachers began calling in sick. Peiffer said, "It started out early. We had a couple people call in sick early. Then it kept snowballing and snowballing."

He doesn't know what's going on, but he guesses it may have started in the boardroom right next to his office. That's where the teachers attended an in-service while the kids were out on Columbus Day.

Peiffer added, "You know how that happens when you put a bunch of people in a room together. And I think that's what possibly occurred here."

But until the health department gets to the bottom of it and teachers return to work, Peiffer isn't taking any chances with the kids. "The idea is that we don't bring our kids into a situation where they could get sick and put them in harms way."

News 11's Tanieya Lewis talked with the health department. A spokesperson says that investigators are now interviewing teachers and taking samples. They've already ruled out the flu, but they won't know what's making teachers sick until those samples are tested.

School is closed for Thursday and all activities are canceled for Wednesday and Thursday.

Updated by LS