An apparent outbreak of the norovirus at PS 12 temporarily closed a Woodside elementary school Thursday after nearly 100 students became ill, officials said.
City health department representatives were on scene at the K-5 school, located at 4200 72nd St., Thursday afternoon as students were dismissed early, according to City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the area. The school will undergo a massive cleaning and is expected to open Friday, according to the Department of Education.
Several children reported having symptoms of the stomach flu Wednesday morning, and their numbers grew over the past two days. No school staff had reported contracting the virus.
Students were sent home with letters informing their families. Any student or staffer who was still feeling ill was asked to remain at home and recuperate, according to the letter.
Annett Giral, 30, whose 8-year-old attends PS 12, said the school takes everyone’s health very seriously. She used to work at the school, and now works in the cafeteria at PS 13.
“We have guidelines where we have to wash and rinse and sanitize, but now we had a meeting today and they emphasized sanitize, sanitize, sanitize,” she said.
Norovirus is the most common foodborne disease in the U.S. and accounts for 19 million to 21 million cases a year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting and stomach pain and are usually not fatal.
Van Bramer said the education department was planning a virtual town hall with parents this weekend to update them on the situation and educate them on the virus.
“We hope all of the kids feel good as soon possible,” he said. (with Jason Shaltiel)