‘Product Used in Utility Work’ Being Investigated in Spooner Middle School Illness-Causing Odor Incident

The Spooner Area School District announced Friday that in-person instruction will not resume at Spooner Middle School until they complete the investigation.

Spooner School DistrictSPOONER, Wis.- The Spooner Area School District announced Friday that in-person instruction will not resume at Spooner Middle School until they complete an investigation into an illness-causing odor which sent students and staff home Wednesday.

Since the evacuation didn’t allow students to gather computers, materials, or other devices before leaving the building, families will be able to pick up materials and devices Monday at Spooner Wesleyan church.

Remote learning will begin for students when they have their computers in hand on Monday, and will continue until all students and staff members can return to the building safely.

Classes will continue as scheduled for students at Spooner High School, Spooner Elementary School and Washburn County Alternative High School.

According to the District Facebook Page, “The Spooner Area School District has been working closely with local and county officials, The Wisconsin Department of Safety & Professional Services and support agencies. Numerous potential causes of the epoxy-like odor-causing student and staff illness have been investigated and ruled out.”

The district is continuing to determine the source of the strong, epoxy-like odor. Advanced environmental sampling is taking place and those results are expected next week.

The current focus of the investigation includes a product that was being used in some utility work in the neighborhood when students and staff members fell ill.

“The sanitary sewer service notification provided to residents prior to the work beginning was not provided to the school. As a result, the school was not able to take the actions that had been suggested to homeowners,” the District said in their post.

Approximately 36 students and 24 staff members have been treated at local medical facilities since Wednesday’s incident.

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