More than 100 students absent from Lincoln school due to suspected norovirus

On Friday, many parents who have children enrolled at West Lincoln Elementary received a phone call from the school’s nurse about a potentially contagious virus that was going around.

Colette Wear was one of the parents who got a call about her son, Isaiah.

“They just called me at work and said, hey, your son threw up, which I was very surprised at because he didn’t feel sick that morning, and then he said he was complaining of stomach cramps, and I needed to go pick him up,” Wear said.

As it turned out, Isaiah was one of 141 kids who were absent by the end of the school day on Friday.

That number accounts for 27% of the school’s listed population of 520 kids.

A norovirus, commonly referred to as the stomach bug, often strikes quickly and the symptoms are easy to spot.

Common signs include vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea.

“I would think a lot of it is tied to hand washing, or the lack, this kind of thing breaks out on cruise ships for the same reason,” Wear said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s kids, adults, whatever, if you don’t wash your hands, something is going to come around eventually.”

Wear says her son had a tummy ache on Friday, but he bounced back quickly, regaining his usual form.

West Lincoln Elementary’s principal gave kids a note to take home that day telling parents they will be doing a deep clean over the weekend to help decontaminate the classrooms.

When Monday rolls around, Wear says she has no issue sending Isaiah back to class.

“I have no worries about it,” Wear said. “The school has always taken care of any issues, even that we have personally had in the past, so I have no question that we’ll get it taken care of.”

If you think you may have come in contact with someone who is contagious, make sure to stay away from at risk areas such as hospitals and nursing homes.

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More than 100 students were absent or sent home from a local elementary school on Friday due to a suspected norovirus outbreak.  About 141 students were absent by the end of the day, however, that number does not reflect the number of sick cases. 

Lincoln Lancaster County Communicable Disease Coordinator Tim Timmons told Channel 8’s media partners KLIN News that it is a highly contagious gastrointestinal illness.

Timmons says it is especially dangerous for the elderly and very young. Extra custodial staff sanitized the school over the weekend.

The following letter was sent to parents of West Elementary Students:

Dear West Lincoln families and staff:

I want to let you know about something that is happening at West Lincoln Elementary this week, and offer some helpful information.

Currently West Lincoln has a large number of students and staff who are out of school with symptoms consistent with norovirus, a very contagious illness.

Anyone can get sick with the norovirus from:

  • Having direct contact with an infected person.
  • Consuming contaminated food or water.
  • Touching contaminated surfaces and putting your hands in your mouth.

Norovirus causes the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stomach Pain

If your child develops or currently has symptoms of a norovirus, please keep them home from school for 24 hours after the vomiting or diarrhea is over. If any of these symptoms become severe, contact your health-care provider, letting your provider know of a possible exposure to norovirus.

At West Lincoln, we are doing everything possible to protect our children and keep our areas clean. Extra custodial staff will be at West Lincoln over the weekend.

We are also working closely with the Lincoln Lancaster County Health Department.  We have attached a facts sheet on norovirus. Should you have any questions regarding this illness, please call the Lincoln Lancaster County Health Department at 402-441-8053.

Scott Schwartz                                     Jamie Craft, RN

Principal                                                 School Nurse

 

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