Pine Middle School Recovering From Viral Illness

RENO, NV - Something as simple as a door knob, a drinking fountain, or a light switch could help spread disease in the right circumstances.
Those circumstances presented themselves last Monday at Pine Middle School.

”The 25th from the school nurse. Well, she was reporting that after staff reported to her, that there were an atypical number of kids with GI or gastrointestinal symptoms, vomiting, diarrhea, that kind of thing. And the numbers were alarming actually. There were close to at that point between 50 to 70 sent home with symptoms from Pine. This is extremely high, very early in the year,” says Dana Balchunas, RN with Washoe County School District Student Health Services.

Washoe County's Health Department was notified, and advised the district what to do. Immediately staff started cleaning door knobs, light switches, hand rails anything students would touch.

Then that evening a deep cleaning of carpets and other surfaces with chemicals that would kill what is thought to be a Noro-like virus.

Parents were told through a Connect-Ed call to watch for symptoms in their children, and keep them at home for 72 hours after those symptoms start to subside. “The school is encouraging kids to wash their hands,” says Balchunas.

While 100 students and faculty were affected, as of Monday, September 1, 2014, Balchunas says there have been no reports of new cases at Pine Middle School.

Because a family may have children at both Pine and the elementary school across the street, Smithridge, staff was put on alert at the elementary school as well to be on watch for students who may start to show symptoms.

Student Health Services says this isn't the first time a Noro-like virus has made its way through a school campus. Historically, they say, it happens in the fall, and most of the time it's at an elementary school.

Parents are encouraged to get their children to wash their hands frequently, and keep those hands away from the child's face.