OLATHE, Kan. (KSNW) — Clearwater Creek Elementary in Olathe will be closed for the rest of the week after more than 150 student absences from illnesses.

The administration sent a letter home to parents saying that the health department recommends building closure when absentee rates are above 10 percent. According to the elementary school’s website, the school has a student population of 540.

If nearly 150 students were out sick Wednesday, the absentee rate would be about 28 percent.

At this time, we suspect the illness is some kind of virus, and have verified it is not due to environmental factors. This has impacted our ability to staff classrooms and perform the normal functions of our school day.

Nate Kremer — Clearwater Creek Principal

When asked to clarify what environmental factors were, a district spokeswoman said a gas leak or carbon monoxide. 

At this time, it is unclear what illnesses are affecting the students and staff, but the school recommends parents contact the Johnson County Department of Health with concerns and comments.

A district spokeswoman said in an email that the students were experiencing GI or gastrointestinal symptoms. 

“There’s a little bit of concern when there’s an illness that big throughout a school,” Clearwater Creek Elementary parent Heather Naught.

Naught says the two children that she has that go to the school feel fine. Other parents near the school who had to come to get their kids decided to play some frisbee because it was such a nice day. Traye Burks says his daughter was feeling fine too, but he was surprised to get the message about all the illnesses.

“But I’m not really all that shocked after COVID that they’re going a little extreme with just making sure that everyone’s OK,” Burks said in an interview with FOX4 Wednesday.

The school is hoping to reopen on Oct. 31. Parents are asked to pick up their students as soon as possible from the front of the school.

Over the next few days, facilities staff will disinfect the building and use increased airflow from the HVAC system to clear out the school.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and, as always, if you have questions, please reach out. 

Nate Kremer — Clearwater Creek Principal