Officials at Fort Rucker military base have temporarily closed the on-base elementary school after 24 fifth graders suddenly became ill. 11 of the 24 children were hospitalized. The children reportedly succumbed to the sudden illness on September 16, 2016 shortly after engaging in a post-recess team-building exercise. The school has been closed for “extensive environmental” testing in the hopes that it will reveal the cause of the illness.
Military officials state that the mystery illness was originally confused for heat exhaustion. Once they determined another factor was the cause the students were either immediately hospitalized or picked up from the school by their parents. Fort Rucker officials commented on the phenomena stating:
“Currently, there are no confirmed leads as to what might have been the root cause,”
The 379 students that currently attend the school will be relocated to nearby Fort Rucker Primary School and the Spiritual Life Center until the elementary school is deemed safe. The military isn’t cutting any corners when it comes to determining the cause. Officials told reporters:
“Various testing and analysis continued throughout this past weekend, to include an examination of air and water quality. Additional steps were taken inside the school, to include a thorough cleaning of all surfaces with a bleach solution and a forced air ventilation procedure. While initial results of this testing have ruled out possible causes for the students’ illnesses, they have not provided conclusive evidence as to the exact cause,”
Officials have stated that students will not return to the school until the cause of the illness is determined. The have also stated that students only missed a single day of classes thanks to their swift response.