School District 51 decides to close all schools Thursday and Friday

Grant Boone
November 21, 2019

A school district in Colorado has closed more than 40 schools for two days after a virus outbreak rapidly spread through the student population, according to school officials.

Tanya Marvin, the school district's nursing coordinator, says, "We are taking this highly unusual action because this virus is extremely contagious and spreading quickly".

The closure includes all after-school activities, the district said, and schools will remained closed until after Thanksgiving break. In addition, it appears that there is now a second, related virus that is affecting students, some of whom have already been ill in recent weeks.

Thousands of students in western Colorado are out of school because of a suspected outbreak of norovirus.

County health officials haven't determined the illness and urged parents to keep their children at home if they appear sick.

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Schools will remain closed on Friday and through the district's Thanksgiving break, which lasts the entire week of the holiday from November 25-29. "That's causing the further spread of the illness and making it more concerning than a typical gastrointestinal virus, much like norovirus".

Norovirus, which is also known as the stomach bug (not to be confused with influenza), is highly contagious.

The MCPH has asked doctors and clinicians to provide stool samples from infected patients so it can attempt to identify the illness. "Of course, this is something we're keeping a close eye on".

According to the district's website, the schools host 22,105 students and 2,685 teachers and staff members.

D51 officials say their custodial crew is working hard to disinfect schools and the closure will give them the time to perform an intense cleaning of school buildings.

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