Students absent after suspected norovirus outbreak at Birmingham school

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. (WXYZ) - Most children were not in attendance at an elementary school in Birmingham where the Oakland County Health Department is monitoring a suspected norovirus outbreak.

The Health Department tells 7 Action News it is aware of at lease 50 suspected cases of the highly contagious virus at Quarton School. Only 36 percent of students were in attendance at the school with approximately 400 students on Friday.

It started on Wednesday.  Suddenly there was a spike in children sick with a stomach virus. It continued with more children sick on Thursday.

The superintendent sent home letters to parents letting them know the school would be disinfected and asking sick children to stay home for some time after their symptoms clear up.

“Clearly with any signs, we are asking them to keep them home and typically we ask 24 hours, but this time 72 hours,” said Dr. Dan Nerad, Superintendent of Birmingham Schools.

That is because if you get sick with a norovirus you are contagious for about three days after your symptoms clear up.

Many parents kept their children home out of caution.  The school district told parents it trusts their judgment on this and with notification of the decision, absences will be excused.

The Oakland County Health Department says right now it is recommending healthy children go to school.  The school district says it has taken action bringing in special equipment and cleaners to kill the virus. More work will be done to sanitize the school over the weekend.

“We are doing deep cleaning on the second shift, but I can tell you there is even more cleaning that is going to be done this weekend,” said Nerad.

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