Officials say almost 700 students didn't come to school in Person County a day after many left early because of a gastrointestinal illness.

Multiple media outlets report that Superintendent Danny Holloman says there were 668 absences in the district Thursday, or 14 percent of the student population. Most of the absences came from Person High School, where more than 300 students stayed home.

More than 100 students and teachers were sent home from schools Wednesday after becoming sick. The county's health department called the outbreak a "gastrointestinal illness" and says symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and a low grade fever.

Holloman says it's not known how many students are actually sick and how many stayed home as a precaution.

State and federal health officials are investigating the cause of the illness.