Norovirus outbreak forces CMS school to close Friday

Students at Wingate reported similar symptoms

CMS school closed Friday after norovirus outbreak, officials say

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte-Mecklenburg school will be closed Friday after a norovirus outbreak, officials said.

Metro School is for students with developmental disabilities and has 250 students enrolled.

Channel nine learned 70 students and even some teachers possibly have the gastrointestinal virus. Symptoms of norovirus include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

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The Mecklenburg County Health Director said the county is trying to determine what caused so many students to get sick.

Parents told Channel 9 the underlying health issues make the virus a major concern.

“They are fragile children and any illness like this is possibly deadly to them," said one mother.

Parents at Metro School received the voice mail from the principal with that message on Thursday.

“We know today (Thursday), 63 students did not come to school,” Dr. Marcus Plescia, Mecklenburg County Health Director, said. “We're assuming the majority of them are from this infection and today (Thursday) an additional seven students were sent home because they were having symptoms."

CMS officials decided to cancel class for students Friday so the building can be properly disinfected.

Several dozen students at Wingate University reported symptoms including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Officials are testing to confirm if it is also norovirus.

The Centers for Disease Control says the norovirus can spread quickly in closed places, like daycares and schools. Most outbreaks happen between November and April. The most common symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain. It is highly contagious.

The CDC recommends the following:

  • Wash your hands often with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. The use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers is not proven to be effective at eliminating the norovirus.
  • Clean surfaces and wash laundry.
  • When you're sick, don't prepare food or care for others.

Wingate officials said Campus Services is taking additional steps to clean bathrooms and common areas.

Wingate Dining is sanitizing and cleaning equipment and serving utensils.

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