STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — Classes are in session Monday after about 1,000 students were absent last week.
Nearly half of all students at Stafford High School were absent Friday due to "flu-like/gastrointestinal symptoms."
According to Sandra K. Osborn, the Chief Communications Officer for Stafford County Public Schools, approximately 1,000 students did not attend classes. With around 2,100 students enrolled at the high school, that means nearly half of all students were absent due to illness.
Osborn explained that the school system's health services team is working with the local health department in order to identify the root cause of the illness.
On Monday morning, Osborn said a deep cleaning had been performed and the school is working to reassess conditions.
The news of the absences, that also included staff members, led to speculations on social media about the illness. One student wrote on the school's Facebook page, "I haven't been to school at all this week because I have the flu and tested positive for the flu."
A parent named Jerome Bell shared his frustration on the Stafford County Public Schools Facebook page writing," Stafford County Schools, it is highly irresponsible for you to put our kids education and health at risk with the increased numbers of people contracting the virus over the last few weeks. Urgent Cares and ER have had wait times of more than 5 hours for days now. Your decision to continue with a standard school opening is absurd."
Parents told WUSA9 that they were told by administrators that the campus would be cleaned during the weekend.
All athletics and activities have been canceled through Sunday.
WUSA9 reached out to the Virginia Department of Health for an update on the surge in cases but did not receive a response.
Editor's Note: An original version of this story claimed half the students in the county were sick when it is half the students at one school. The story has been updated to reflect the correction.
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