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Santa Monica-Malibu Officials ‘Hopeful’ Norovirus Eradicated from Schools  

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By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

April 17, 2017 -- With students returning to classes Monday after a two-week break, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) says it is “hopeful” the norovirus outbreak that has been plaguing local campuses since February has been eliminated.

A letter from the superintendent’s office sent over the weekend to parents and others connected to the SMMUSD says all schools were “ terminally cleaned” during the break.

The district is now in “prevention mode,” according to the letter.

“The best ongoing prevention of resurgence is to keep sick kids home for 48 hours after the symptoms are over,” the letter states.

It further states, “Continued frequent hand washing and hand sanitizing throughout the school day will also help prevent the spread of all illnesses, including norovirus.”

All activity restrictions in the SMMUSD that were imposed because of the illness have been lifted (Santa Monica Malibu Schools Discontinue 'Optional Group Activities' as Virus Lingers," February 15, 2017) .

Hundreds of students and staff have been sick for a period of time since February with the virus that is highly contagious, not treatable with any medicine and extremely uncomfortable--causing vomiting, diarrhea and fever.

District officials say the virus was likely introduced to the SMMUSD in February when John Adams Middle School seventh-graders and teachers went on a five-day trip to Yosemite.

Several students showed signs of the illness during the trip, according to the district ("Unidentified Virus Spreads Among Santa Monica Students, Forces School Closure," February 3, 2017).

It soon spread to other SMMUSD schools, although officials say it did not travel into the Santa Monica community at large.

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