ROCKDALE COUNTY, Ga. – A Rockdale County elementary school will be closed on Monday because of the “rapid increase” of a gastrointestinal illness among students and staff.
Officials at Shoal Creek Elementary School in Conyers said the Health Department told them it is likely norovirus, which can cause nausea, diarrhea and/or vomiting. The symptoms usually develop within one or two days after exposure and last for around two to three days.
The school has been doing a deep cleaning for the past several days and will continue over the weekend.
They said they made the decision to close in order to stop the virus from spreading.
This isn’t the first time it’s happened this year. The same school had to close down for a day because of a norovirus outbreak in March.
The principal send the following letter home to parents.
Shoal Creek Elementary will be closed on Monday, October 28th due to a large number of students and staff reporting symptoms of gastroenteritis.
We are working closely with the Rockdale County Health Department to limit the impact of this illness. Health officials tell us that illnesses are likely due to Norovirus which can cause nausea, diarrhea and/or vomiting. These symptoms usually develop within one or two days after exposure and most people get better in 2 to 3 days without medication.
By closing on Monday, we will limit exposure between those who may be ill and those who are not, while giving everyone ill adequate time to recover. We will continue our deep cleaning procedures throughout the weekend as well.
We plan to reopen on Tuesday, October 29th, however, we ask that you continue to keep sick children home until they are free from vomiting or diarrhea for 24 hours without medication. Please also encourage your children to wash their hands often, specifically before eating and after using the restroom.
How do you protect your family from viral gastroenteritis such as norovirus?
In order to protect your family from this illness, the Rockdale County Health Department recommends the following precautions:
1. Monitor your child and members of your family to see if they develop diarrhea, and/or vomiting.
2. If your child develops vomiting or diarrhea, please keep them home from school until their symptoms are gone for at least 24 hours without the aid of medication. You may wish to contact your child’s physician and inform them that there are students with viral gastroenteritis at your child’s school.
3. Encourage your child and family members to thoroughly wash their hands before preparing or eating food, after using the toilet, and upon returning home from school in the afternoons. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are generally not effective. Staff at our school will continue to work with your child to encourage proper hand washing at school.
4. If you or your child are ill at home, ensure that the cleaning products you are using are strong enough to kill Norovirus. This information can be found on the product label. It is important to use a cleaning agent that is effective and to closely follow the instructions on the label to limit the spread of illness in your home.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact your child’s physician. You may also contact the Rockdale County Health Department at (770)-339-4260 and ask to speak with the Epidemiologist on call.
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