2nd Mesa County School Closed After Dozens Of Students Catch Unknown Illness

November 18, 2019
A car drives by Mount Garfield Middle School in Clifton.A car drives by Mount Garfield Middle School in Clifton.Stina Sieg/CPR News
A car drives by Mount Garfield Middle School in Clifton.

An unknown illness has temporarily closed a second Mesa County school.

Mount Garfield Middle School in Clifton closed at 1 p.m. Monday after district officials said 23 students were sent home vomiting. Another 25 hadn’t come to school at all after experiencing the same symptoms.

The middle school had been cleaned over the weekend after several students were sick at home Friday, the Daily Sentinel reported, but that did not stop the spread of the illness.

This outbreak comes just a few days after teens at Palisade High School, about 2 miles away, came down with the same symptoms. Hundreds of students and staff called out sick last Thursday, and the school was shut down for the remainder of the week as a cleaning crew tried to stop the spread of the illness.

Palisade High School reopened on schedule Monday, with about 5 percent of students still calling out sick.

Mount Garfield Middle School, which has about 630 students, is a feeder school for Palisade High School, which has about 1,050.

Mesa County Health Department spokesperson Amanda Mayle said her agency can’t say definitively say what the illness its, but it’s “acting a lot like norovirus.” The main symptom is vomiting that lasts between 12 and 24 hours.

Mount Garfield Middle is scheduled to reopen Wednesday.

Health officials said more outbreaks are possible over the next few days and are urging parents to keep their children at home if they show signs of illness.