Dixie Poindexter, Junior News Editor

Throughout school we always struggle with illness outbreaks, often times the cold/flu and other times a fever, but recently in Utah we’ve struggled with the spread of norovirus. Norovirus is an illness that causes vomiting, diarrhea, low-grade fever, and muscle pains, much like the stomach flu. Norovirus is spread through direct contact, foodborne contamination or touching or putting your fingers in your mouth after being contaminated.

Although norovirus is a common illness, it has been spreading very early in the year, suggesting that it may be a new strain of norovirus. Since the outbreak in Utah started there has been over 600 students absent due to their illness. All administrators are suggesting that those who are sick stay home. On September 6th it was discovered that two West Jordan elementary schools have been exposed to the virus, the schools with outbreak are Fox Hollows Elementary, and Mountain Shadows Elementary.

In order to avoid the spread of norovirus schools have began deep cleaning school zones, this includes deep cleaning and sanitizing bathrooms, classrooms and buses. When Principal Woolridge and Hansen were interviewed they highly suggested that everyone wash their hands before eating, “The virus is spread through ingestion” they said, also explaining the precautions that our school and district have been taking to avoid outbreaks,”When classes are empty we are disinfecting them to kill the virus, because this is not a bacteria we can’t do precautions we usually would.” Although the schools are taking precautions, there is still much that you can do to avoid the spread. In order to keep the virus to a minimum outbreak you can keep basic personal hygiene such as washing your hands after going to the restroom, don’t share drinks/food with those that have been exposed, and washing your hands before cooking. If you have younger siblings, children or babysit you can also help them to make sure they are doing the same, and keeping their hands out of their mouths. One more precaution you should take is washing and sanitizing contaminated areas.

There is no medicines for norovirus, although it is suggested that you be sure to stay hydrated and keep those who are infected with the virus hydrated to avoid hospitalization.