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Update: Batavia Schools With Legionella Closed For Weekend Cleaning, No Cases Reported

The three Batavia schools that have traces of Legionella bacteria will be shut down at different times until Monday.

Batavia Public School officials reassured parents that the schools with Legionella bacteria traces will be thoroughly cleaned over the long weekend.

Alice Gustafson, Hoover-Wood and Batavia High School will all have restricted access at different times over the weekend while crews disinfect the building's water systems of the bacteria, said a districtwide message sent Friday afternoon.

Alice Gustafson and Hoover-Wood will be restricted starting this Saturday, Oct. 6. Batavia High School will be open for event and athletic use on Saturday, Oct. 6 and then will be restricted starting Sunday, Oct. 7.

All buildings should be open at noon on Monday, Oct. 8. Classes will resume on Tuesday, Oct. 9, following the Columbus Day holiday.

The district was notified of the bacteria traces Thursday morning. The traces were found on faucets in one bathroom each at Alice Gustafson and Hoover Wood, and on a shower head in a locker room at the high school.

About Legionella

Legionella bacterium is commonly found in water and water fixtures. In very rare circumstances, contaminated water vapor may cause Legionnaires’ disease, a respiratory illness. Other symptoms include high fever, chills and a cough, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disease can cause death in up to 5 to 30 percent of cases, but most cases can be treated with antibiotics.

"There are no known cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Kane County or surrounding counties," said Batavia Superintendent Jack Barshinger in the message. "The bacterium was detected during a proactive environmental assessment unrelated to a specific health concern."

After consulting with the Kane County Department of Health and the Illinois Department of Public Health, the district was assured that the affected schools were safe for occupancy, and that the water supply is safe for drinking and sanitation purposes. 

District Response to Bacteria

The district contracted with water quality specialists and developed a comprehensive disinfection plan for the three schools. The specialists and district maintenance staff will disinfect the schools over the weekend.

"Once the disinfection is complete, we will continue to conduct proactive environmental assessments in all of our buildings," Barshinger said. "We will continue to communicate with the school community about health and safety concerns."

On Thursday Barshinger directed parents to their children's school nurses. On Friday, he invited them to contact him personally or their children's school principal.

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