For the second time in seven months, a Rockdale County elementary school will close after a widespread stomach bug made students and staff members ill.
On Friday, district officials said they made the decision to close Shoal Creek Elementary on Monday amid a “rapid increase of students and staff with gastroenteritis” this week.
In a letter to parents, administrators said the school is working closely with the Rockdale County Health Department to limit the impact of the illness, which is likely due to norovirus.
“Closing Monday will allow a break in the transmission cycle,” district spokeswoman Cindy Ball said. “We have implemented deep cleaning procedures the past few days and will continue those protocols throughout the weekend and as long as needed.”
Ball said school officials began to notice an increase in sick students Tuesday. By Wednesday, 11 percent of students were absent, she told AJC.com. That figure jumped to 14% Thursday. By Friday, 22% of students stayed home, with even more leaving in the middle of the day. Fifteen staff members also called out sick Friday morning, she said.
Shoal Creek was one of two Rockdale schools to close in March after a suspected norovirus outbreak sickened hundreds.
Symptoms of the illness include nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, which typically develops within one or two days of exposure.
Most people who get the virus tend to get better within two or three days, authorities said.
“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,” the letter read.
In the meantime, parents were encouraged to monitor their children and other family members for symptoms of the illness. They were also asked to keep sick students home from school until symptoms have subsided for at least 24 hours.
Shoal Creek is expected to reopen Tuesday.
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