Hand, foot and mouth disease prompts closure of Madison-Grant schools Friday

GRANT COUNTY, Ind. – The Madison-Grant United School Corporation has canceled classes Friday after learning that at least two students have contracted hand, foot, and mouth disease.

Superintendent Dr. Scott Deetz made the announcement in a letter to families Thursday, saying the district is attempting to stop the spread of the highly contagious virus. Students will instead have an “E-Learning Day” Friday.

According to Dr. Deetz, the two confirmed cases of the disease are in a kindergarten class at Summitville Elementary.  He says other students in the same classroom stayed home or were sent home with symptoms of this disease.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease usually lasts seven to 10 days. According to the CDC, initial symptoms include fever, reduced appetite, sore throat, and a feeling of being unwell. One or two days after the fever starts, the CDC says painful sores can develop in the mouth. They usually begin as small red spots that blister and can become painful.

The administrator at the Madison County Health Department said her office doesn't track the disease, as its very common among children and isn't easy to trace where it started.

"It’s really hard to track a disease like this as opposed to Hepatitis A where you can kind of figure out who patient zero is, so to speak," said Stephenie Grimes. "This type of thing is just everywhere."

Grimes stressed that parents and children should wash their hands and disinfect objects that many people touch, such as toys, doorknobs and counter tops.

Parents said they were okay with students staying home and using the day for e-Learning, rather than risk them getting sick in school.

Although the disease has only been identified at Summitville, administrators feel they need to disinfect all of the district’s buildings in order to be ready for parent-teacher conferences on Monday, which is already listed as a “no school day.” Dr. Deetz says parent-teacher conferences will go on as planned.

“We do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but student and staff wellness is a high priority at Madison-Grant,” Dr. Deetz wrote.

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