Public Safety Tips and Facts
What is the follow up to the possible Norovirus outbreak?
Garden City Public Schools
November 20, 2015
As you are aware a possible outbreak of viral gastroenteritis is suspected at the middle school. At this time, we have not received confirmation from Wayne County Public Health Department of any known cases. Due to the transmission of such viruses, GCPS has taken measures to deep clean the middle school building using the materials and procedures recommended by the Wayne County Public Health Department. Cleaning occurred Thursday evening and will continue through the weekend. Additionally, all buses have gone through a rigorous cleaning as well.
Garden City Public Schoolswill continue to do our part during the school day to keep children healthy by following the CDC and WCPHD guidelines for our current rates of infection and severity of cases.
Cleaning surfaces that are touched frequently by many people
Allowing time to wash hands with soap & water
Teaching cough etiquette
Providing hand sanitizer when soap & water are not available
Sending sick children home
If further action is required, you will be notified. Until that time, please view this letter as an up-date. We will not send announcements or letters based solely on new cases in our district.
Is the NOROVIRUS in Garden City Public Schools?
We have become aware of a possible viral gastroenteritis (GAS-tro-en-ter-i-tis) outbreak among students and staff at Garden City Middle School. We are working closely with the Wayne County Health Department in response to this increase in illness.
Though several viruses can cause gastroenteritis, norovirus is the most common. All are easily transmitted through food, by person-to-person contact, or through contaminated surfaces. Therefore, take caution if one of your family members is affected because the virus spreads easily in the home as well. Norovirus is sometimes called the “stomach flu”, but is not related to influenza (the flu), which is a respiratory viral illness that causes fever, cough, chills, headache, muscle aches, runny nose, and sore throat.
Norovirus often causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramping. Symptoms may also include low-grade fever, headache, weakness, and muscle aches. Symptoms can begin as early as 12 hours after exposure to the virus or as late as 48 hours. The symptoms of norovirus usually last 1 to 2 days. In most
cases, ill persons fully recover without medical attention. However, norovirus infection can result in hospitalization due mainly to dehydration, especially in the very young and elderly. Those with severe diarrhea should drink lots of liquids. Symptoms that are not seen with norovirus infection are bloody diarrhea or high fever. If these symptoms develop, we advise contacting your medical provider.
Children and staff exhibiting symptoms of viral gastroenteritis should be excluded from school or other group activities until 48 hours after their symptoms have stopped.
The best way to limit the spread of these viruses is frequent hand washing for at least 20 seconds using soap and warm running water, being sure to completely clean all areas of hands and under fingernails.
Preventing contamination of food, drinks, water, and ice is also very important. People who have been sick with norovirus-like symptoms should not prepare or serve food to others for at least 3 days after their symptoms are gone. It’s important to know that most household cleaners are ineffective against norovirus and bleach is the only reliable means of disinfection. Please refer to the cleaning and disinfection guidelines on the back of this letter.
Further information about norovirus and how to limit its spread can be found at
What are some general Facts about NOROVIRUS?
tis), in people. Norovirus is known incorrectly as the “stomach flu”. Norovirus is
What are the symptoms of a norovirus infection?
How serious is norovirus disease?
How is norovirus spread?
Who gets norovirus infection?
Can norovirus infections be prevented?
What are some tips to preventing the flu?
Recent media coverage of the Enterovirus (none reported in Garden City) gives us increased motivation to review universal precautions and best health practices to manage or avoid these health risks.
Please reflect on the following action steps to help prevent the spread of illness. Take these steps all the time, and not only during a flu or virus season, to help keep students and yourself from getting sick.
- Educate and encourage others to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze. Also, provide them with easy access to tissues.
- Remind others to cover coughs or sneezes using their elbow instead of their hand when a tissue is not available.
- Remind others to practice good hand hygiene and provide the time and supplies (easy access to running water and soap or alcohol-based hand cleaners) for them to wash their hands as often as necessary.
- Be a good role model by practicing good hand hygiene and covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Keep an eye out for others who maybe sick and encourage them to get further evaluation. Sick people should stay at home until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever or signs of a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medicine).
- Clean surfaces and items that are more likely to have frequent hand contact such as desks, door knobs, keyboards, or pens, with cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas.
- Adults, parents and teachers, should also stay home when sick. Stay home until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever or signs of a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medicine).
- Plan ahead for child care if your child gets sick and assist your child with completing any missed school work.
(Excerpted and adapted from CDC recommendations for flu and virus prevention.)
How can you prevent lice?