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Batavia Schools Detect Legionella Bacteria Traces in 3 Buildings

This includes the high school and two elementary schools. Here are more details beyond the original Messenger post.

Three Batavia public schools have traces of Legionella bacteria in them, district officials announced this afternoon.

The schools with traces are:

  • Batavia High School (found on a shower head in locker room area)
  • Alice Gustafson School (found on faucets in one bathroom)
  • Hoover-Wood Elementary School (found on faucets in one bathroom)

The district received the report about the bacteria at 8:30 a.m. this morning, Batavia Superintendent Jack Barshinger said in a message to Batavia Patch.

Legionella bacteria are commonly found in water and water fixtures. In very rare circumstances, these bacteria may cause Legionnaires’ disease in people with compromised immune systems.

"We have turned off water to a bathroom or a shower room at each school," Barshinger said.

None of the Legionella bacteria traces were located within the Early Childhood Center at Alice Gustafson, or in the water they would consume, he said. The center serves student ages three to five in a separate section of the school.

The district discovered the traces "while conducting proactive water quality analyses," according to a public districtwide message.

"No related illnesses have been reported," Barshinger said in the message. "District officials have put the safety of students and employees first by immediately securing the affected sites and setting a comprehensive remediation plan in motion."

District's Plan to Remove Bacteria

Workers will use the upcoming three-day weekend to clean the affected area with strong chemicals to make sure the bacteria are killed, Barshinger said. In the meantime, the bathrooms and locker room will remain closed.

Classes will still be held Friday at Alice Gustafson, Hoover Wood, and Batavia High School, on the advice of the Illinois Department of Health, Barshinger said.

Students in Batavia Public Schools do not have classes on Monday, Oct. 8 in observance of Columbus Day.

"The Water is Safe to Drink"

Barshinger was assured by the Kane County Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health that the possibility of contracting Legionnaires’ disease is extremely low.

"There is no problem with the water supply," Barshinger said. "The water is safe to drink. Legionella is only dangerous if it becomes airborne.  The bacteria is common in our environment, but when it develops on water faucets it has the potential to become airborne."

Barshinger directed parents to contact their children's school nurse with any further questions.

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