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Santa Monica High School Cancels Open House As Norovirus Persists  

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By Jorge Casuso

March 7, 2017 -- Open House Night at Santa Monica High School, which was scheduled for Thursday, has been canceled due to the persistent spread of norovirus on the campus, School District officials said.

Parents received a robo-call Monday night from principal Antonio Shelton asking parents to stay home. A short notice also was posted on the school's website.

"We still have an issue with the virus on that campus and are taking preventive measures for keeping people off campus for non-essential activities," district spokeswoman Gail Pinsker told the Lookout Tuesday morning.

Pinsker said most schools in the district are still reporting cases of the norovirus, a highly contagious disease that cannot be treated with any specific medicine.

"We've been trying to knock this out and haven't been successful," she said. "We need to not let our guard down and take preventive measures.

"If measures aren't taken seriously, it can go on for months and months and months," Pinsker added. "We're really trying to get rid of this."

Pinsker said the virus has only been detected at District school sites and does not appear to have spread to the community at large. Students from schools outside the district are being kept from visiting local schools.

In addition to infecting students, the virus has been contracted by parents, teachers and staff on district campuses, Pinsker said.

District officials are asking parents to follow a series of strict guidelines to prevent the virus from spreading.

One major recommendations is that people wash their hands with soap, especially after using the bathroom and before eating.

Also, those showing symptoms of the virus -- nausea, vomiting or diarrhea -- should stay home for an additional 48 hours after those symptoms go away.

District officials hosted a meeting for parents last Wednesday at the Santa Monica Public Library that included presentations from Los Angeles County Health officials.

Students and teachers were likely exposed to the virus during a five-day, seventh-grade trip last month to Yosemite, according to District officials. Several students showed signs of the illness during the trip ("Unidentified Virus Spreads Among Santa Monica Students, Forces School Closure," February 3, 2017).

On February 13, the district canceled all after school activities, including music, athletics, dances and other social activities to help reduce the spread of the virus ("Santa Monica Malibu Schools Discontinue 'Optional Group Activities' as Virus Lingers," February 15, 2017).

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