THERE has been an outbreak of what is thought to be the winter flu bug Norovirus at Ridgeway Academy in Astwood Bank.
Up to 60 pupils and staff were sent home yesterday, Wednesday, December 3, suffering from the symptoms which are vomiting and diarrhoea.
A parents evening scheduled for today, Thursday, December 5 has been cancelled.
One parent, who didn’t want to be named, said: “We heard about it this morning and decided not to send our daughter to school.
“It’s affected the teachers as well as the pupils and we certainly don’t want it spreading to our family.”
Headteacher Mike Bennett and school staff reacted swiftly, sending out a letter to parents and guardians warning them of the situation.
It reads: “This letter is to advise you that diarrhoea and vomiting illness, which is present in the community at this time of the year, is also circulating at school.
‘As a result, we have had high levels of staff and student absence.
‘We are following advice from Public Health England (PHE) West Midlands on managing the outbreak, including increasing cleaning throughout the school as a precaution.
‘We would be very grateful for the support of parents in helping us reduce the spread of the infection. ‘If your child has symptoms of diarrhoea and or vomiting, please keep them at home until 48 hours after they are symptom free.
‘During this time, they should not mix with other children outside the home or visit local venues’.
It then offers the following advice to parents about Norovirus:
What are the symptoms?
• diarrhoea and vomiting usually lasting 1 -2 days
• What should you do if your child is unwell?
• Make sure they get lots of rest.
• Ensure they drink plenty of fluids, taking sips rather than gulps to avoid vomiting
• Give infant Paracetamol or Ibuprofen, according to product instructions, to help keep their temperature down.
• If your child is unusually sleepy, won’t take fluids or has other symptoms, such as blood in their diarrhoea, an unusual rash, headache, neck stiffness or difficulty breathing, ring NHS
Direct (0845 4647), contact your GP or take your child to hospital.
• Please ring your child’s nursery/ school and let them know that your child is ill and what symptoms they have.
• Keep them at home until they are well enough to return to school. However, if your child has been suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting keep them at home until they have been free of symptoms for 48 hours.
How can you prevent the spread of these infections?
Hand washing is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of both of these infections. This applies to the child who is ill and the person looking after them.
Hands should always be washed, using liquid soap if possible:
• Before and after caring for your child
• After using the toilet
• Before eating or handling food
• After cleaning up a mess (vomit, faeces or urine)
Other ways of preventing the spread of infection are to:
• Keep a separate towel for family members who have symptoms
• Dispose promptly of used tissues and other items that your child may have coughed or sneezed on
• Wash soiled clothing, bed linen and towels in a washing machine. Use the hottest wash for that fabric
• Clean baths and washbasins thoroughly and disinfect after use
• If cleaning up diarrhoea or vomit, wash the surface with hot soapy water and disinfect before allowing to dry. If using bleach remember that it can remove the colour from fabrics and can burn the skin
Please keep your child away from other children and people that are particularly vulnerable, eg the elderly and those with chronic illnesses.