By Erich Wagner (File photo)
School officials are closing John Adams Elementary School Friday after more than 200 students and more than 30 staff contracted norovirus between Wednesday and Thursday.
Norovirus is a highly contagious but nonfatal stomach illness that produces symptoms like vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. Although there is no treatment available for the virus, it typically afflicts victims for about two days.
Kelly Alexander, spokeswoman for Alexandria City Public Schools, said a couple of students likely came to school with the virus, but before displaying symptoms. Since realizing the extent of the outbreak, the school system has been working with the city health department to inform parents and begin work to disinfect the school.
"They’ll use a disinfectant that kills that type of virus, and just wash and wipe down everything in the school," she said. "They'll be doing that all weekend."
Weekend activities at the school of more than 900 students are also cancelled. School is slated to resume Monday.
Officials recommended that parents keep a close eye on their child and make sure that they wash their hands frequently and thoroughly. If a student develops symptoms of the virus, officials said parents should ensure their children stay hydrated and keep them at home until at least 24 hours after symptoms subside.