School starts back Tuesday after illness outbreak in Person County

PERSON COUNTY (WTVD) -- Tuesday will be the first day of school since an outbreak kept almost 1,000 students and teachers home over the course of three days last week in Person County.

In an email, the superintendent of Person County Schools, Dan Holloman said:

"At this time, schools will be in session as usual. Unless we hear differently or have to make other decisions, afternoon activities will resume. The buses were all sanitized again on Friday. According to our Director of Custodial Services, thoughts are to have everyone continue the use of Bleach in all areas this week unless we hear differently from the Person County Health Dept. Our staff members went above and beyond last week to sanitize and take precautions as needed. I hope this has run its course and we can now move forward."

On Wednesday last week, more than 100 students and teachers went home sick, and by Friday 980 students were reported absent from the Person County School system. Although they could not tell how many of those students were actually sick or how many stayed home as a precaution.

At the time, the Person County and state health departments called the cause a gastrointestinal illness. On Friday two samples tested by the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health confirmed two samples tested as norovirus which the Centers for Disease Control said is sometimes called the stomach flu.

The state health department then canceled athletic events including even Friday Night football.

While school will continue as scheduled the state lab will continue running tests before issuing any blanket diagnosis of norovirus.

Meantime health experts continue to advise that thorough handwashing is key in prevention and anyone who has the virus should stay home 48 hours after symptoms disappear.

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