GIRARD SCHOOL More pupils return to class

The board president says Prospect Elementary School is just about back on track.
GIRARD -- A few parents continue to keep their children out of the classroom, but attendance at Prospect Elementary School is nearly back to normal.
Richard Ragozine, president of the board of education, said Thursday that absenteeism has steadily declined since the school reopened last week.
"We're pretty much back to normal," Ragozine said, adding that a few pupils continue to complain of upset stomachs and headaches.
Those pupils are being referred to their family physicians, Ragozine said.
Closed for a week, the school reopened May 3 after it was sealed off from adjoining Girard Intermediate School.
What happened: The intermediate portion of the building has been closed for the rest of the school year because students and staff were falling ill with headaches, itchy and burning eyes, rashes and vomiting.
Prospect was closed and sealed off as a precaution after some in that portion of the building complained of similar symptoms.
Last Friday, the 400 intermediate pupils were transferred to the junior high and former Tod Woods Intermediate School.
Prospect attendance continues to grow to near normal.
Of the 537 pupils, 187 -- 35 percent -- were absent May 3. Thursday, just 32 students -- about 6 percent -- were absent.
School officials said 20 to 25 pupils is a normal daily absentee rate.
Some parents have opted to keep their children out of Prospect.
Unsure of cause: James Dobson, assistant city health commissioner, said Thursday he doesn't know why some Prospect pupils have symptoms.
"There is no scientific evidence to close that building," he said.
Ragozine said parents have moved two children into a home-school program, while two other pupils are being tutored at home.
He said every effort is being made to accommodate parents who have not returned their children to Prospect.
Cathy Ross, president of Girard Concerned Parents, said she has talked with Prospect's nurse and principal "and they don't seem to think the symptoms are related to the building."
Ross noted that she and another GCP member are sending their children to school.
"I really don't see a problem over there. There is a small group who thinks there is," Ross said.