Plainwell HS to be closed after prom illnesses

PLAINWELL, Mich. (WOOD) — Plainwell High School will be closed Wednesday “due to an outbreak of an illness with flu-like symptoms,” according to the school’s website.

Health officials received multiple reports of people becoming ill after attending the Plainwell High School prom over the weekend. About 300 students attended that senior prom at Rose Street Market in downtown Kalamazoo, though not all of those have reported illness.

Plainwell Community Schools sent out a letter to parents Tuesday stating “there has been an increase in the number of students who have experienced flu-like symptoms at Plainwell High School.”

Inside Read the full letter to parents (pdf)

The high school said nearly 20% of its students were absent Tuesday, and that it needed to “thoroughly disinfect” the building, so it decided to close for Wednesday.

The Kalamazoo and Allegan County health departments are working together to determine how many people were affected by and the cause of the illness. It’s unknown whether it was food-borne or if it is norovirus.

“We want to initiate a very rapid and thorough investigation so that we can … identify the cause or the source and put a quick stop to it so people will not continue to get ill,” Dr. Richard Tooker of the Allegan County Health Department said.

Health officials were confident Tuesday that the outbreak could be contained.

The Kalamazoo Health Department Tuesday looked for a cause at the Rose Street Market. Health officials also checked the food and the restaurant that served the students.

Students who become ill should contact the school district.

Kindergarten through eighth-grade students should report to school as usual Wednesday.

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