"Considerable number" of USD 415 students sent home as illness spreads

Hiawatha USD 415 High School (Source: USD 415)
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HIAWATHA, Kan. (WIBW) -- A "considerable number" of students in Brown Co. were sent home on Wednesday after the school officials confirm new cases of a pneumonia-like illness plaguing the Hiawatha school district.

USD 415 Superintendent Lonnie Moser explained that sending the students home is in line with suggested protocol and does not necessarily mean they have contracted the unknown illness. Most of the students are between the ages of nine and 14 years old

"However, we feel it is best to be careful," he continued. "This undoubtedly has caused inconvenience for many families. While we regret this, we must do what we can to mitigate this issue and protect our students and staff."

On Thursday, 83 students stayed home, the district said.

The district stepped up its cleaning and disinfecting procedures and is in contact with the Brown Co. Health Dept. and Hiawatha Community Hospital, he said. The Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment also contacted the district Tuesday.

"This is certainly troubling," Moser told parents. "Please know we are doing what we can in order to keep your children, our students, and our staff safe and healthy."

He added that the district will also continue the safety protocols it previously enacted.