Local News

Classrooms scrubbed, Person County students return to class

Posted September 8, 2015 7:57 a.m. EDT

— Students and teachers in Person County schools returned to class Tuesday after facilities were thoroughly scrubbed and disinfected.

The Person County Health Department said on Friday that at least two of the dozens of students and staffers who fell ill last week had norovirus, a highly contagious virus spread through fecal-contaminated food and water. More samples must test positive for the virus before it can be identified as the sole cause of the outbreak.

"The Health Department is continuing to contact sick individuals in an attempt to collect samples for testing," officials said in a statement.

Almost 1,000 students stayed home from school in Person County Friday, two days after the outbreak was reported.

School officials said 988 students – or about 21 percent of the total student enrollment – did not report to class Friday. The figure does not necessarily mean that many were sick, and the advent of the Labor Day weekend may have inflated absences.

A total of 86 students from Person High School and 67 students from the other nine schools in the district experienced "virus-type symptoms" on Wednesday, Superintendent Danny Holloman said.

He described the symptoms as low-grade fever, diarrhea and vomiting, and urged students and teachers to wash their hands frequently using soap and water. The district used a bleach solution to clean each school Thursday, but many parents kept their students home as a precaution. There were 668 absences Thursday.