214 Humble ISD students absent as investigation into illness outbreak continues

District still trying to determine source of outbreak

HUMBLE, Texas – More Humble Independent School District students were absent Friday as authorities continue the investigation into an outbreak of an illness at Woodland Hills Elementary School, officials said.

District officials said 214 students were absent Friday, nine more than were out Thursday. They said five staff members were absent both Thursday and Friday.

This comes after dozens of students displayed the same symptoms of illness Wednesday. 

According to school officials, there was an unusual number of students who either had to leave Woodland Hills Elementary School early Wednesday due to being sick or didn't attend school at all because they were already sick.

"It's certainly unusual to have this number of students call out with an illness all at one time," said Roger Brown, assistant superintendent of support services. "We’ve been very proactive once we learned the situation going on at Woodland Hills.  Our custodial staff and our maintenance staff went into action right away.”

The district said special cleaning crews came in to sterilize every desk and doorknob.  Humble ISD said cleaning crews used equipment to fog the entire school with antibacterial and virucidal mist including the three buses that go to Woodland Hills Elementary School.

"What we can tell you is that our mist that we use, it kills 99.9 percent of bacteria and germs and so that’s what we’re doing to address this issue," said Brown. "Obviously we'll continue to monitor the attendance of student’s health and welfare each and every day.”

The district also sanitized the school kitchen with bleach. The Houston Health Department gave the district the green light to use the kitchen on Thursday, but as a precaution, the school handed out boxed lunches.  On Friday the district plans to use the kitchen though.