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Riverdale High School evacuated after students develop health problems
Cause still being investigated
Bryce Bird
Riverdale Schools Administrator Bryce Bird confers with other staff member following the high school evacuation Friday. Several students became ill Friday morning prior to the evacuation and the cause is still under investigation.

The Riverdale School District experienced a number of students who became ill on Friday morning. It started about 11:15 a.m., and by 11:45 there were four students who became ill and were being attended to by the school nurse. Some of the symptoms were headache, chills, numbness, lethargy, and heavy arms and legs. Shrotly before 1 p.m. three more students reported similar symptoms. Most of these students were in the biology or chemistry rooms at some point that day. At approximately 1 p.m., the high school was evacuated. Students were sent to the elementary/middle school for the rest of the day.

The Muscoda Fire Department and Rescue Squad was summoned to help assist in this situation. While some of the students’ conditions improved when they got outside, other student’s symptoms got more severe. Students were transported to local hospitals throughout the afternoon by area emergency teams. Before the day was over, a total of 15 students were transferred by rescue squad to area emergency rooms.

Seven students were brought to Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinic after they fell ill. Those students were all treated and released within a few hours. Gundersen Boscobel CEO David Hartberg says he is proud of the way this situation was handled from the hospital’s stand point.

“First and foremost, I am glad that all the students will make a full recovery,” Hartberg said. “This situation reinforces the importance of coordinated drills and training with local EMS, first responders and healthcare providers. The disaster drill conducted a few short weeks ago proved beneficial in improving communication, collaboration, and response time efficiency.”

The high school building was tested by a hazard materials teams. There was no evidence of carbon monoxide, natural gas, or mold. The Hazmat team completely checked out the building and did not find any unsafe levels of chemical of any kind.

“As a precautionary measure all chemicals from the science rooms were removed and put in a storage building,” District Administrator Bryce Bird said.

The high school was declared safe by Grant County Emergency Officials and the Hazmat team. School resumed on Monday, June 2.

An ongoing investigation continues involving Grant County and the Wisconsin State Health Departments to determine the cause. The Riverdale School District would like to thank all of the emergency response teams and EMS from teh surrounding area including Lancaster, Fennimore, Blue River, Lone Rock, Richland Center, Avoca and Muscoda. The District would also like to thank Riverdale staff for handling this situation in such an efficient manner and the parents and community for their patience.