Visual Representation for norovirus | Credits: Getty Images
Visual Representation for norovirus | Credits: Getty Images

Norovirus outbreak forces closure of Fairhope West Elementary, sparks widespread absenteeism across local schools in the US

United States: The United States is grappling with a norovirus outbreak, leading to the closure of several educational institutions. Fairhope West Elementary has shuttered its operations as hundreds of students have fallen ill due to the virus.

With the closure of Fairhope West Elementary, attendance plummeted across other schools in the area. Over 1,000 students opted to stay home as a precautionary measure, exacerbating the absenteeism issue.

The outbreak prompted the closure of Fairhope West Elementary for at least two days, Thursday and Friday, to contain the spread of the virus. As a result, absentee numbers surged in neighboring schools as well.

Reports indicate that 1,231 students were absent from other Fairhope schools due to illness and precautionary measures. School authorities have arranged for professional cleaning services to disinfect the campus thoroughly.

Fairhope East Elementary saw 721 absentees, J. Larry Newton reported 136, Fairhope Middle School recorded 170, and Fairhope High School noted 204 absences.

The Alabama Department of Public Health is investigating the outbreak and its underlying causes. Health officials have highlighted symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and nausea.

Despite no reported hospitalizations, parents remain concerned about sending their children to school. Symptoms outlined by the American Medical Association include nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, headache, and body aches.

Attendance at Fairhope East Elementary dropped significantly, with only 145 out of 866 students attending school on Friday. Superintendent Eddie Tyler urged parents to keep their children at home in light of the low attendance rates.

At Fairhope West Elementary, 773 students were absent, leaving only 201 students in attendance amidst fears of a potential outbreak. One elementary school has already decided to close its doors, while another has issued a notice regarding the situation.