updated 1/18/2007 2:04:08 PM ET 2007-01-18T19:04:08

Schools in three communities decided to reopen Monday because health investigators found no link between an elementary student who contracted meningitis and three others in the state who were infected with encephalitis.

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Students likely will see more hand-sanitizing stations in their schools as officials work to ensure that no similar scares occur.

Mycoplasma bacteria was blamed for the cases of encephalitis in Warwick and West Warwick in the past few weeks. One second-grade student died from the neurological illness last month.

More than 20,000 Rhode Island students were kept out of school on Thursday and Friday as authorities searched for a possible link between the cases.

Test results on an elementary school student in Coventry who contracted meningitis showed the child did not have the same bacteria that killed a second-grader in Warwick last month, the health department said in a statement.

Mycoplasma bacteria was blamed for the cases of encephalitis in Warwick and West Warwick in the last few weeks. Dylan Gleavey died from the neurological illness last month.

Meningitis is an inflammation of membranes protecting the brain, and encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain. Mycoplasma can occasionally cause such neurological complications.

Experts from the state health department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control are investigating the encephalitis cases.

All the cases prompted officials to close public schools Thursday and Friday in Warwick, West Warwick and Coventry. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence also closed eight schools in those communities as a precaution, although there were no known cases there.

Health officials said the schools would reopen Monday.

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