LINCOLN, ARK. - Widespread stomach illness has forced the Lincoln School District to close its doors for the next few days.
Almost 200 students were absent from school Monday, with 60 more leaving sick before 1 p.m., said Supt. Clay Hendrix.
Hendrix said teachers and staff members at the three schools in the district were also sick or had sick children at home.
Hendrix said a widespread stomach sickness is to blame. The school district plans to disinfect its buildings before it resumes classes Thursday.
The district has an elementary, middle and high school. All three were shut down after 1 p.m. Monday. Hendrix said most of the sick students were at the elementary and the high school.
The janitorial staff will spend much of its time cleaning up the students' sickness from around the school.
“There’s a huge amount of vomit,” Hendrix said.
"I got some training documentation from the Arkansas Department of Health about how to clean and disinfect in an instance like this," Hendrix said.
Justin Brewer, 16, said there were a lot of missing classmates.
"We usually have about 50 in the class, seemed like there was about half the people were there," Brewer said.
"Our basketball coach had already wiped down all of the balls and had to disinfect our lockers so we didn't catch anything from there," Brewer said.
Dylan McConnell said he thinks the school district made a good decision.
"We didn't have but 15 basketball guys today, there are usually 22. So there's a bunch of people gone," McConnell said.
"I heard a few schools shut down and I'm glad they decided to shut down ours," McConnell said.
Northwest Health System Doctor Joel Jones in Bentonville said he sees an overwhelming amount of kids coming in with stomach illness.
"We're hours behind unfortunately, so there is a long wait," Jones said.
Jones said it's extremely contagious.
"Here in the emergency room we're seeing a lot of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps," Jones said. "Most of them don't have a fever, but you can get a low grade fever."
Jones said the stomach illness usually lasts a day but it can take up to five days to recover.
"If they're not keeping any fluids at all for more than a day, you probably should bring them in and let us check them for dehydration," Jones said.
The Lincoln School District has a student population of about 1,200.