Illness aftermath

Published: Dec. 4, 2019 at 10:39 PM MST
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It’s been almost three weeks since Palisade High School closed their doors due to that fast spreading illness. The next week District 51 followed suit.

“I’ve never seen anything like that; the kids that were out sick,” says Palisade principal, Dan Bollinger.

An estimated 350 students had called in absent on Nov. 14, with around 20% of staff also out.

“I don’t usually get sick, so that was a warning sign for me that something bad was going to happen,” says student, Russell Willow.

The high school was considered to be ground zero for the outbreak. Principal Bollinger says disinfection was top priority.

“[There were] district custodians here there was our custodial team here, the custodial lead for the whole district was out here,” says Bollinger.

Decontaminating floors, doorknobs and entire classrooms through the majority of Thanksgiving week. They received some extra help from D51 staff.

“They were spraying things down but also wiping things down. Things like the hall passes, making sure those got sanitized real well,” says Bollinger.

Staff and students say things seem to be back to normal and that they are more prepared than ever.

“It feels a lot cleaner now because they had done all that deep cleaning,” says Willow.

“There’s a definite different approach we take. A much more serious direct approach we take now that we might not have taken prior to this,” says Bollinger.

Bollinger says they are back to the normal number of student attendance. D51 says that all of their schools are back in operation.

Mesa County Public Health estimates the illness impacted around 5,000 to 6,000 people.