Second metro-Atlanta school shuts down due to norovirus outbreak

Second metro-Atlanta school shuts down due to norovirus outbreak

ROCKDALE COUNTY, Ga. — Another Rockdale County elementary school is closed Friday due to an outbreak of norovirus, officials said.

Channel 2's Lori Wilson was at Shoal Creek Elementary School, where 120 students and five staff members were out sick Thursday and officials made the decision to send everyone home.

It's the second time in a week that a Rockdale County school has been forced to shut down over the gastrointestinal illness.

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Pine Street Elementary School was closed Wednesday and Thursday after over about 90 students got sick. The school reopened Friday after crews deep-cleaned the whole building.

At Shoal Creek Elementary, students won't return to school until next week.

Wilson spoke to the Rockdale County Health Department, which recommended the school be shut down. Health officials said when someone gets sick and throws up, any person or surface within a 9-foot radius is considered contaminated.

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Wilson spoke to Jerrica Nunnally, who's daughter was back at in her first-grade class Pine Street Elementary Friday. The school was closed for two days earlier this week after almost 90 kids complained of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

"I was pretty worried," Nunnally said. "They sent home a letter saying they were going to be closed for two days to do a major cleaning, and that was it."

Rockdale County health officials said they sent a team of epidemiologists into the schools and recommended closing the buildings and implementing cleaning protocols that would kill any virus.

"Many of our citizens from across the county share places of worship, childcare, retail businesses, and other places that may enable transmission of the virus throughout the community." officials said in a statement." We are working closely with health officials to do our part in reducing that transmission at school."

Marisol Gutierrez said her 3-year-old is too young for school, but her friends have children at Pine Street Elementary.

"That's frightening as a parent. Scary," Gutierrez said.

Nunnally was taking even more precautions to protect her daughter, including taking her to her pediatrician.

"(I also) wash her hands frequently and disinfect her toys because I'm very germaphobic," Nunnally said.

Officials said the last time a Rockdale County school was closed because of illness was last fall at Honey Creek Elementary.

The Health Department said hand sanitizers does not kill norovirus. It recommends washing your hands frequently. Officials also recommend that if parents see their children exhibiting any symptoms of norovirus to keep them at home.