The lunchroom is dark and the halls are empty in the Bridgewater/Emery school district.
"We had an upward of ten kids gone in a class so it just made it difficult," Superintendent Jason Bailey said.
On Friday, you can't find a single soul on the swing set. That's because on Thursday about 50 students were out sick and with just 315 kids in the district, that's 16 percent of the student body. By the end of the day another 20 went home sick; that's another seven percent. In addition to all of the students, three teachers were also showing symptoms of the norovirus, so the school district decided to cancel classes on Friday.
"It came on very quickly. There would be a kid in a classroom and all of a sudden it would just come on in a hurry and there wasn't any warning, even the high school kids couldn't feel it coming on," Bailey said.
Illness spread through the entire Bridgewater/Emery School District and now the staff is trying to wash all the germs away.
"We started right away this morning; we are disinfecting absolutely everything, every door handle, every drinking fountain, every locker," Bailey said.
The South Dakota Department of Health says lately there have been many outbreaks of norovirus scattered across the state. Bridgewater is the latest stop and the illness is hitting exceptionally hard.
"If our school, if we want to be a leader in something, this isn't a thing we want to be a leader in," Bailey said.
Bailey says they will talk with parents to see how students are doing and possibly have school on Monday.
"Unfortunately, you know it's an outbreak here. I guess you could call it an epidemic and we're doing what we can to address it," Bailey said. "We're going to continue on. We're going to make sure we have good on hand supply of wipes and hand sanitizer and we're going to continue to try to learn from this."
Bailey has been with the school district for 13 years and this is the first time he's experienced anything quite like this.
Symptoms of the norovirus are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps.