Legionella Update: Schools Are Disinfected, Ready For Classes

The three Batavia schools that had Legionella bacteria traces are cleared and ready for students, the district announced.

The three Batavia Public schools that had traces of the bacteria behind Legionnaire's disease are now completely ready for students, the district announced Monday afternoon.

"BPS101 maintenance staff, with the assistance of a water quality specialist, completed the disinfection process at Alice Gustafson and Hoover-Wood elementary schools on Saturday," the districtwide message said. "Batavia High School was disinfected on Sunday."

All schools reopened at noon Monday as planned to Batavia Public Schools staff and sports teams. All schools will be open today, Tuesday, Oct. 9 as planned after Monday's Columbus Day holiday.

During a recent inspection of the facilities, workers found traces of legionella bacteria on a shower head in a girls locker room at the high school and on faucets in one bathroom each at Alice Gustafson and Hoover-Wood.

The bacteria were detected during an environmental assessment, which is done at the schools every six months, Batavia Superintendent Jack Barshinger said.

Barshinger and the district emphasized that no cases of Legionnaire's disease or related illnesses were reported as a result of this detection. The possibility of contracting Legionnaire's diesease from this was extremely low, according to the Kane County Health Department and Illinois Department of Public Health.

Legionnaire's disease is a respiratory illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In very rare circumstances, contaminated water vapor may cause Legionnaires’ disease. When the bacteria develops on water faucets, it has the potential to become airborne, Barshinger said.

The water system in each of the three schools was flushed out. The district's maintenance staff and a water quality specialist disinfected the areas with chlorine dioxide, a strong but safe disinfectant.

Parents can direct any remaining questions about this incident to Barshinger or their children's school principal.

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