In the past few days, Deer Park School Elementary School has seen significant numbers of students absent from school with a stomach illness. The symptoms are compatible with norovirus. Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea; symptoms typically begin 12 to 48 hours after exposure and can last for one to three days. Additionally, as it relates to Norovirus:
- Norovirus illness is not related to the flu (influenza). Though they share some of the same symptoms, the flu is a respiratory illness caused by influenza virus.
- Anyone can get norovirus illness. Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the U.S.
Given the potential for high numbers of siblings and relatives that may come into contact with the virus at home, we’re taking steps to protect the health of students and staff district-wide, ensuring that all families are aware and informed. Avoiding contact with infected individuals and attending to frequent hand-washing are the most effective ways to combat spread if the virus. It’s important to share that alcohol-based hand sanitizers are not effective in killing norovirus.
As of 10/24, we implemented increased cleaning procedures at Deer Park Elementary and starting today (10/25), we have implemented increased cleaning procedures district-wide (to include cleaning of all hard surfaces in all buildings) to prevent the virus from spreading. We are monitoring the situation closely and are working closely with Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) and the Washington State Dept. of Health to ensure we’ve taken all necessary steps.
At this time, if your student is experiencing symptoms of stomach illness, please keep them home. Once symptoms have resolved, we ask that you keep your student home for an additional 24 hours. We will continue to share updates as they are available.
If you have questions, please contact District Nurse, Juli Begley at 468-3512. Alternately, you can reach Spokane Regional Health at (509) 324-1500.
Travis Hanson, Superintendent