Unknown illness affects many at Washington Elementary School

Stephanie Kelly, Assistant City Editor

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 contacted city health officials on Friday after an “unusually large number” of students and staff at a district school became ill.

Students and staff from Washington Elementary School, 914 Ashland Ave., had symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, prompting the district administration to contact the city, said Carl Caneva, Evanston’s assistant director of the health department, in a letter to parents and guardians of the district. The origin and cause of the illness is still unknown, he said.

The school’s Halloween parade and in-class Halloween parties were canceled by school administration after the health department recommended doing so, Caneva said.

The health department is interviewing anyone with the illness to identify what it could be, and parents and guardians with a child experiencing the symptoms have been asked to call in to the city and complete a questionnaire, Caneva said.

Washington Elementary has since been cleaned and disinfected per the school district and health department’s procedures.

Caneva said there has been no report that other district schools have had widespread illnesses similar to this.

Last month, the second student in three months at Evanston Township High School was diagnosed with whooping cough, according to a letter sent to students’ parents by Caneva.

In both letters from Caneva, he reminded students to practice good personal hygiene with frequent handwashing.

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