BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Sixty five students at Rock Creek Elementary School were absent Tuesday when the school reopened after Norovirus-like outbreak hit the school last week. That's more than double the usual amount of 20-30.
Many may be recovering from the outbreak.
"This illness is undoubtedly causing some of this increase in absences," said Maureen Wheeler of Beaverton Public Schools.
The school was closed Friday after close to a fifth of its students experienced symptoms of the virus including diarrhea and vomiting.
"I thought it was just a stomach bug," said Dedrick Inirio, a father of a Rock Creek student. "Then on Friday when we came to pick up our daughter, we found out it was 100 kids that were gone then we came home and pretty much disinfected everything."
A letter was sent home with kids Friday and then an email was sent to parents on the MLK holiday with prevention information. The Washington County Health Department says to keep your kids home if they're sick, and make sure they wash their hands, a lot, especially after using the restroom or before preparing food.
Over the weekend, crews donned face masks and gloves to disinfect desks, chairs, windows, doors and school buses to stop the spread.
Washington County Public Health recommends that any student or staff having symptoms of vomiting and/or diarrhea should not attend school/work until 24 hours after symptoms resolve.
Health officials were trying to figure out where the outbreak started.
It hasn't been confirmed as the Norovirus, but health officials said the symptoms of bad stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting all are pointing to that. It can last one day, or a few, and it's very contagious.
"It was a little bit shocking, but we're just all telling our kids to wash their hands and cover their cough," said mother Elizabeth Johnson.
Norovirus is very contagious and can spread easily from person to person, according to health officials. Both feces and vomit are infectious.
There is no treatment or vaccine for Norovirus. To help avoid getting this illness, people should do the following:
- Stay at home when ill to avoid further spread.
- Wash hands well and often. Always wash hands after using the toilet and before eating/preparing food.
- Flush vomit and feces down the toilet.
- Wash contaminated clothing or linens in hot water.
- For cleaning at home, mix one-third cup bleach to one gallon of water. Re-make every 24 hours. Caution: This may ruin certain surfaces.