November 30, 2007
COLUMBIA CTY, Ga.---There is a suspected outbreak of norovirus at Lewiston Elementary School on Hereford Farm Road.
Students, staff, and faculty members started reporting feeling ill yesterday. As of today, about 35 percent of the school's students are absent.
The school is still open. Parents can sign students out if they want to.
Noroviruses cause what many people call the stomach flu. The Centers for Disease Control says most people generally get better within one to two days.
The following is a news release from the Columbia County Board of Education:
Beginning yesterday morning, an excessive number of Lewiston Elementary School students and faculty have been affected by what appears to be a norovirus, more commonly known as the “stomach flu.” This virus includes symptoms of nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea and is highly contagious. The illness often begins suddenly and the infected person may feel very sick. The infection is usually brief, lasting one to two days. It is spread by touching contaminated objects and then placing hands in the mouth, by eating contaminated foods, or by coming into direct contact with an infected individual. Rarely does the virus cause the need to be hospitalized.
In an effort to insure an appropriate environment for Lewiston’s students and faculty, the following actions are being taken by school staff:
1. Students exhibiting symptoms are being released to their parents and encouraged to remain at home until all symptoms have ended.
2. The video, “Wash Your Hands,” has been shown to students and faculty this morning. This three-minute video covers the prevention of spreading germs by proper hand washing.
3. Parent notification for medically fragile children is being made and these students are being excluded from the general population as much as possible.
4. As an added precaution, extended measures have been taken to sanitize classrooms and multiuse areas.
Every effort will be made to maintain a normal school day; however, due to these circumstances, parents of Lewiston Elementary students may choose to sign out their children early.
As always, students and parents are encouraged to report any concerns they may have to the school administration. Questions or concerns may also be directed to the Board of Education by calling 706-541-0650, ext. 5207.