Quincy schools, health agency investigating students’ neurological issues

QUINCY — Quincy Community Schools is working with the Branch Hillsdale St. Joseph Community Health Agency to determine if the schools could be the source of student neurological health issues reported by parents.

Quincy Superintendent Marc Kramer said one commonality is all the students showing symptoms lived in Branch County and attended Quincy Schools.

Quincy Community SchoolsQuincy Community Schools

Quincy Community Schools

Parents of several students who experienced neurological symptoms contacted the Branch Hillsdale St. Joseph Community Health Agency. The agency became aware on Monday.

Health officer Rebecca Burns said Wednesday the agency is not yet sure of the number of students or when the illnesses began.

Reports said students suffered from symptoms including tremors, mobility issues, seizures, inflammation, joint pain, bloody noses and body swelling.

In a statement, health officials said, “We are in communication with the leadership of Quincy Community Schools and are in the beginning stages of the investigation.”

Center for Disease Control protocols require the determination of illnesses that are the same and then look for commonalities between those with the same conditions.

The health agency said in its statement, “We are in the beginning stages of investigation. The investigative process will require gathering information, information analysis, and the assistance of families with students who have experienced neurological symptoms.”

Marc KramerMarc Kramer

Marc Kramer

“We’re testing the water. We’re going to be working on procuring water for kids,” Kramer said.

Some parents also questioned the air quality in the schools.

In a statement issued to parents Monday, Kramer said, “We’re going to do everything that we can to make sure that if there are any areas that were questionable, we can mitigate that while we go through the process and take a good solid look to see if there’s anything here.”

Quincy Utility Manager Bill Poole told the Quincy Village Board Tuesday evening that health agency staff would conduct a walk-through of the schools Wednesday.

Bill PooleBill Poole

Bill Poole

Poole said the village and health department will conduct water tests Thursday to look for metals, volatiles, or “anything possibly causing an issue for the kids.”

Regular water samples take seven days for results, Poole said.

The utility director said tests for synthetic organic chemicals take three weeks for results.

Synthetic organic chemicals, SOCs, are artificial, organic carbon-based chemicals. SOCs include pesticides, defoliants, fuel additives and can be used as ingredients for other organic compounds.

Poole assured the village board, “There’s not an issue with our water. We’re testing for basically everything again.”

He said there could be an internal issue at the schools, but he couldn’t be sure.

Kramer said there were no plans to close schools. After a discussion with the health officials, the superintendent told the Quincy school board Monday the schools will remain open.

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Health staff said any parent with students showing signs of neurological symptoms should take the child to their health care provider for medical evaluation.

— Contact Don Reid: dReid@Gannett.com

This article originally appeared on Coldwater Daily Reporter: Health agency looks at Quincy schools after parent complaints

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