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Published on March 24th, 2017 | by Nathan Meadows

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Norovirus continues to spread

Non-essential activities, such as class field trips, have been rescheduled due to a recent influx of norovirus within SMMUSD. Students and teachers who are still participating in events are being screened for the virus immediately prior.

According to Samo principal Dr. Antonio Shelton, many measures have been put into place to rid the school and district of the infection as quickly as possible.

“Every night the restrooms, desk, bleachers in the gym, and armrests in Barnum are wiped down. Most areas of high use are done twice a day,” Shelton said. “Hand sanitizer is place in many of our public use areas and we have posted signs about washing hands on a regular basis.  The school has also had a thorough cleaning of several building over the weekend. These are just some of the measure that we have taken.”

All of this has happened in accordance to the instructions and protocols provided by the Los Angeles Health Department.

“The Los Angeles County Health Department believes it is important that we lessen the number of times we have contact with one another,” Shelton said. “This allows our school to reduce the number of students with the virus… We have to reach a baseline number of students who have the symptoms of the virus within a week. This number is derived from prior numbers of students who were out in the previous year during this time.”

The district still is not sure when the norovirus will no longer be affecting programs, but they suspect they may be getting close.   

“Data shows that last year, between August and January, we sent home an average of zero to 15 students per week with gastrointestinal illnesses. Two weeks ago we had 14 students go home sick in one week, and last week it was 22 students. We are still above the baseline and need to continue working toward getting within our baseline range,” Shelton said. “We need to stay in that range for six days before resuming activities.”

Despite cancellations, events will not be eliminated completely.

“The Los Angeles County Health Department has shared with us that we should not cancel school because it is considered an essential activity and supports the instructional growth of our students,” Shelton said.

*In the Mar. 23 paper, we incorrectly attributed this article to Staff Writer Annie Huang instead of Nathan Meadows.

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