UPDATE: City Schools Close as Absenteeism Grows
After several northern Humboldt County schools had to be closed due to a norovirus outbreak, the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services reports they have been monitoring the situation in the schools. Heather Muller, Public Information Manager tells us that although absences in Eureka City Schools were slightly up yesterday, the absentee rate today is in the 15 to 20% range.
“[B]ecause of the time of year and the incidence of the usual Humboldt crud, it’s hard to know how many kids are out with symptoms of norovirus—nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea—and how many left early for Christmas or stayed home with an unrelated illness,” Muller explained. “There may also be perfectly healthy kids kept home from school because parents are worried about the virus.”
Schools, she said, “are attempting to contact the parents of absent students to find out why they’re not in school. Public Health may recommend additional closures based on the outcome of those calls. We’re hoping to put together a short news release later today to let the community know where the situation stands.”
Muller said that parents who believe their kids have norovirus symptoms should let the schools know.
She added, “[W]hile we definitely understand the concerns of parents, our experience with the schools and district in no way suggests any attempt to cover anything up. To the contrary, they and we have worked closely and openly together to make sure we’re all doing what we can to keep kids safe.”
UPDATE 2:34 p.m.: Handout sent home with students to parents from Eureka City Schools,
All Eureka City Schools’ sites will be closed on Thursday, December 21st and Friday, December 22nd in an effort to prevent further spread of the Norovirus illness. This decision was made based on the recommendation of Public Health officials following increasing absences. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.