Illness keeps dozens home from school

Illness keeps dozens home from school

CHARLESTON -- Dozens of students stayed home sick from school.
CHARLESTON -- Dozens of students stayed home sick from school. Health officials believe it's an outbreak of norovirus. WCIA-3's Amanda Porterfield has the latest.

38 students may have been infected. Parents starting calling kids in sick Wednesday. It didn't take school and health officials long to determine what was going on. Vomiting, nausea, diarrhea. All symptoms floating around kindergarten classrooms at Mark Twain Elementary.

"They've determined that it may be, it could be the norovirus."

District Superintendent Jim Littleford says they're doing everything they can to try to stop it from spreading.

"Today, our custodian went home ill. It can spread from children to teachers to custodians to support staff to anybody that's actually over there."

The same thing happened at Ashmore Elementary last year, only worse. The district believes more than 60 students got norovirus. School closed until it was safe to go back.

But this year, district leaders say, since fewer students are sick, they're keeping the school open.

"We are familiar with the norovirus. We know it's very contagious. We know it makes you very ill. But this time around, we kind of know what we're dealing with."

Custodians are cleaning the school with a special solution which kills the virus. Littleford says the bus company is also cleaning its fleet and the district sent notes home to parents stressing kids simply wash their hands.

"Hopefully we won't have any more students that are going to get ill. But, you never know with something like this."

Littleford says the health department doesn't know the source of the virus, and may not figure it out since it spreads from person to person.
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