CC: Samantha Perez, Truman Middle School
RE: Absences and Illnesses
It has been brought to my attention that there may be an illness spreading throughout the middle schools due to a recent rise in student absences. In researching the recent absences, I’ve noticed that in 2 of the 4 middle schools, Truman and Jackson, there was an unusual spike in the absences of band students on May 20 and 21. I reviewed the school calendars and noticed that Truman and Jackson Middle School had a Battle of the Bands event scheduled on May 19. Interviews were conducted with some of the absentees’ parents, it has come to my attention that some of the band members likely went out to dinner after the event. I looked into recent health inspections of local restaurants available from the Health Department and there are several health violations at restaurants in close proximity to the schools. The school nurse also provided information that food poisoning symptoms can start within a day or two of eating contaminated food, which, based on interviews conducted, is when these students began seeing symptoms. After reviewing the available data from the health department and schools, I offer that the absences are most likely related to food poisoning and not a contagious illness such as the flu or other epidemic. There would be no need to alert students, parents or the community about an outbreak.
Community Health Department Investigator
After conducting my investigation, I would have to ask a few other questions to support my hypothesis of food poisoning being the most likely cause of the absences: When were the restaurants inspections conducted? If the inspections were done recently, then this helps support my hypothesis. If the inspections were conducted weeks prior to the event or after the event, the data provided from them I think would not be useful in supporting my hypothesis....