Caesar Rodney School District officials evacuated McIlvaine Early Childhood Center just before noon Thursday as a precaution against carbon monoxide when the third student in two days fell ill.
District officials asked agents from the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services and Magnolia Fire Co. to test the air in McIlvaine's classrooms because a handful of students had complained of headaches and nausea, Caesar Rodney Superintendent Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald said at McIlvaine.
Fitzgerald had arrived at the premises initially for the reunion of U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Kenneth Riley, who was reunited with his daughter after a seven-month deployment. Once on site, Fitzgerald got to work.
Members of the local press were also on site for the Riley reunion.
The Magnolia Fire Co., within a stone's throw of McIlvaine, was the first to arrive and transported a child to Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital, Magnolia Fire Chief Tom Stratton said. The child was suffering from symptoms that had begun at home the previous night, he said.
"Between communications with the nurse here at school and hospital ER staff, there was a possibility that there could be an exposure to carbon monoxide," Stratton said. "There were a couple more kids complaining of flu-like symptoms."
Every child in the classrooms of the three students in question were evaluated by paramedics, Fitzgerald said. In all, three students were transported to Kent General to be on the safe side.
The Magnolia Fire Co. also tested McIlvaine with its two gas meters, Stratton said.
"We did a sweep of the building; we found no ratings whatsoever," he said.
That was the finding of state agents as well, Fitzgerald said. As of Thursday afternoon, school officials believed three students had come down with the stomach flu.
"Everybody decided to err on the side of caution," he said. "When the one kid was taken to Kent General, they said since you have two you may want to check the CO2 lines. Well, this is a geothermal building.
The only possibility of that was the boiler room."
Nonetheless, Delaware public health agents came in just to double check, Fitzgerald said.
He said all parents would be contacted and notified of Thursday's precautionary actions.
Also assisting on scene were the Kent County Paramedics and an ambulance from the Camden-Wyoming Fire Company.