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Possible Norovirus Still Present in Santa Monica-Malibu Schools  

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By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

February 10, 2017 -- John Adams Middle School was open again this week after being closed due to an illness outbreak that was possibly Norovirus, but the sickness was still floating around the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) as of Wednesday, according to officials.

“While we have had some students go home sick this week with what may be the Norovirus, we continue to focus on reducing the spread of this highly contagious illness at our facilities,” SMMUSD officials wrote in a statement.

The statement did not specify which schools had sick students.

John Adams was closed last Friday after 80 student and ten teachers were sick that week with what was believed to be the same illness ("Unidentified Virus Spreads Among Santa Monica Students, Forces School Closure," February 3, 2017).

Principal Steve Richardson told school families in a message Sunday night that custodians had conducted a “terminal cleaning” of the campus.

That cleaning included “targeting all contact surfaces in classrooms and throughout the school including restrooms and locker rooms with approved products known to kill Norovirus.”

The SMMUSD says the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health “validated” this cleaning practice. The District and health department are working together on advising further best practices to avoid the illness’ spread.

One major recommendations is that people wash their hands with soap, especially after using the bathroom and before eating.

Also, people who are showing symptoms of the virus -- nausea, vomiting or diarrhea -- should stay home for an additional 48 hours after those symptoms go away.

Students and teachers were likely exposed to the virus during a five-day, seventh-grade trip last month to Yosemite, according to District officials. Several students showed signs of the illness during the trip.

Health officials believe the illness is Norovirus, but that has not been confirmed. Norovirus is highly contagious, and there is no specific medicine to treat it, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC recommends people who believe they have Norovirus drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea.

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