Albany schools disinfected, norovirus determined


All 21 schools expected to re-open Monday

ALBANY, Ore. (KOIN) — Cleaning crews are disinfecting all 21 schools in the Albany School District after a nasty stomach virus spread quickly, forcing all the schools to close through Thanksgiving week.

The closure began Monday at Periwinkle Elementary. Nearly 100 kids and 8 staff members were absent from the school, which was disinfected over the weekend and closed on Monday.

But after district officials saw a huge jump in students and staff absent at other schools, they made the call late in the day Monday to close all the schools Tuesday and Wednesday, ahead of the Thanksgiving break. Most of the elementary and middle schools had more than 20% of students gone.

In some cases parents kept their kids home as a precaution, but district leaders said most of the absences were due to illness.

Albany School District Superintendent Melissa Goff, November 26, 2019 (KOIN)

“At that point you get concerned about if students are sharing the same space,” Superintendent Melissa Goff said. “Even if their symptoms are gone they can still be contagious and we didn’t want to be the source of spreading any of this across our community.”

The district warned that anyone sick should stay home for at least 48 hours after symptoms ended. Those symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and sometimes a fever.

Cleaning teams are using hospital-grade disinfectant on school surfaces, from classrooms to school kitchens. They’re also cleaning laptops and Chromebooks.

A cleaning crew disinfects a table inside an Albany School District school closed by a stomach virus, November 26, 2019 (KOIN)

The Albany School District learned Wednesday a norovirus was the cause the widespread illness.

School is scheduled to resume Monday.

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