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Students back to class after disinfection work at three Batavia schools

Batavi School District Superintendent Jack Barshinger

Batavia School District Superintendent Jack Barshinger

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Updated: November 11, 2012 6:21AM

BATAVIA — School was back in session and back to normal Tuesday at three Batavia buildings following a clean-up of Legionella bacteria.

The cleaning and disinfection of the water systems at Batavia High School, Hoover-Wood Elementary School and Alice Gustafson Elementary School proceeded without incident on Saturday and Sunday, Superintendent Jack Barshinger said. All three buildings opened to staff and sports teams at noon Monday, he added, and then were open for classes on Tuesday.

“We disinfected everything it was possible to disinfect,” Barshinger said.

The district will perform followup testing in the next week to ensure that no bacteria remains, he said. The clean-up cost about $500 for chemicals and an as-yet unknown amount for school custodians’ overtime labor.

Students and parents responded well to news of the bacteria infestations when the district announced it last Thursday, Barshinger said. Attendance figures dropped by about 1 percent Friday, he added.

“Just less than 20 students at Batavia High School said they were staying home because of the Legionella bacteria in the school,” he said. “We respect everyone who made that choice. It’s always the parents’ choice whether they feel it’s safe to send their children to school.”

The water quality screening that revealed the bacteria was the district’s first-ever routine water system test. Batavia has been testing air quality in school facilities quarterly for about three years. District officials are talking with the Illinois Public Health Department to decide how often they should perform water quality tests, Barshinger said.

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