Board says Norovirus spreads through elementary school

By: Jessica Floyd Email
By: Jessica Floyd Email

News 12 First at Five, November 30, 2007

EVANS, Ga. - Parents flooded into Lewiston Elementary to pick up their children early from school -- after hundreds of students got sick with a virus.

"Kids are throwing up everywhere and stuff," says third grader William Berry.

Students and faculty began getting sick Thursday morning around 8:30. Michelle Waters' fourth grader was one of them.

"She was nauseated and stomach cramping and just not feeling well," says Waters.

Principal Michael Doolittle says it started when one child got off the bus and started vomiting.

"We had a child come in yesterday morning sick and then it just spread from there," says Dr. Doolittle.

Columbia County Board of Education says it appears to be Norovirus. That's a fancy word for stomach flu. It's very contagious and spreads fast from person to person. Parents were also encouraged to sign their kids out early -- and they did -- by 3pm more than 342 students were not at school.

"I got a phone call from the school that he was in the nurse's office and his stomach hurt," said Leslie Berry, William's mother.

"Now, we have only 10 kids left in our class," adds Ansley, a first grader at the school.

The principal says by Monday, things should be back to normal.

"We're sanitizing everything we can sanitize -- every table, every desk -- every door handle."

All steps to try to stop this virus in its tracks.

Custodians will be at the school on Saturday to continue cleaning classrooms and common areas. The Norovirus normally lasts about 24 hours, so most students should be back in school on Monday.


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