Portage public school employee contracts enterovirus

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PORTAGE, Mich. -- Classes went on uninterrupted here at Haverhill Elementary today.

Yesterday around 5:30 p.m., Portage Public Schools learned an employee has enterovirus.

"I got a phone call around 8:00 (p.m.) saying that enterovirus had been detected here," Kristen Waber, a parent said.

That robocall went to Waber and nearly 500 other families and faculty members connected to Haverhill.

"A little concerned, but you can't panic," Nathan Banks, another parent said.

Banks added, "You have to take these things as they come and just do your best to help prevent the spread."

Last evening, Baker said the district sent in a crew to clean the entire school and followed Centers for Disease Control protocol to disinfect any areas the employee may have been in.

School administration declined to go on camera but released a statement. It read in part: The district "notified parents of the action we took to disinfect identified areas. Today, we will send home additional information about enteroviruses. We continue to work with the Kalamazoo County Health Department to ensure we are doing everything possible to keep our schools safe."

Waber said, "Sounds like they're going above and beyond what they need to do actually and taking every precaution possible."

"I'm not worried until there's a reason to be worried," she added.

Whether this is the D-68 strain of enterovirus has not been determined.

According to the CDC, enterovirus can "cause mild to severe respiratory illness." Other symptoms mimic a cold. The virus is spread through coughing, sneezing, and touching surfaces that have been contaminated by the virus.

The CDC says infants, children and teenagers are most are risk since their immune systems haven't built up a defense to the virus.

Baker said attendance was down. About 15 percent of the student population stayed home but for a variety of reasons.

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