Several children at Russellville Elementary and Middle schools became sick due to an apparent virus. Concerned parents began contacting the Cole County Health Department at about 2:15 p.m. Wednesday.
Superintendent Jerry Hobbs said 70 out of 247 children from the elementary school were absent Wednesday.
Despite rumors of food poisoning, Hobbs said the school registered nurse assured him that this is a virus.
The Health Department collected samples from ill and recently ill students as part of its investigation. Those samples will be tested at the state health laboratory.
Extreme sanitizing measures throughout the school and on buses have been taken to stop the spread of the virus.
Parents of Russellville students with questions for the Health Department are encouraged to call (573-638-2181).