School in Seneca Falls closed due to student strep infections

Seneca Falls, N.Y. (WHAM) - A school in Seneca Falls has so many sick students and staff that it was forced to close.

Finger Lakes Christian School was closed Wednesday after administrators reported "widespread strep infections."

11-year-old Rachel Natale knew she was sick when her throat began hurting. She went to the doctor and was diagnosed with strep throat.

She wasn't alone. The illness had spread from family to family and throughout the Finger Lakes Christian School.

By late Tuesday, there were more sicknesses and teachers were now ill. That's when school principal Scott Van Kirk knew he had to shut the school down.

Staff members showed up to school Wednesday to help disinfect tables, chairs and other surfaces to prevent the spread of the infection further. Even some students put on gloves and scrubbed every inch of the school.

Hope Hall School in Gates was closed Tuesday. Classes had to be cancelled after the flu and other illnesses affected a quarter of the students.

The people in the Seneca Falls school vacuumed rugs, mopped floors, scrubbed desks, walls, doors and sanitized door knobs and handles. They scoured restrooms and all equipment in the gym and kitchen areas.

It took a few hours but Van Kirk hopes it will stop the spread of the strep infection.

He also decided to keep the school closed Thursday so that kids who are sick can be seen by the doctor and given antibiotics if they have strep.

He said this will give everyone a chance to rest and get healthy.

Natale and her sister Lizzy said they were glad to help clean the school. As an entra incentive, a former student donated donuts and coffee after hearing the school was closed and being disinfected by teachers and staff.

The school hopes to re-open Friday. This is only the second time in 26 years they have had to close due to illness.

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