Illness closes all schools in Grand Junction school district |

Illness closes all schools in Grand Junction school district

All 46 schools in Grand Junction-area District 51 have been closed for cleaning because of a possible norovirus outbreak among students and staff.

Colorado Public Radio reports six of the schools in Mesa County had closed as of Wednesday afternoon before the districtwide shutdown was announced.

All the schools also will be closed Friday heading into the Thanksgiving break, which lasts the entire week of the holiday.

Tanya Marvin, the school district’s nursing coordinator, says, “We are taking this highly unusual action because this virus is extremely contagious and spreading quickly.”

Symptoms of norovirus include diarrhea and vomiting that lasts between 12 and 24 hours.

Two Garfield County school districts, Roaring Fork and Garfield Re-2, said they are monitoring the situation, but that they have not seen the symptoms among students in schools from Basalt to Rifle.

“Our health staff is not seeing any of these symptoms in our schools, nor have they seen an increase in or alarming rate of illness.” Roaring Fork Schools spokesperson Kelsy Been said. “Of course, this is something we’re keeping a close eye on.”

Added Garfield Re-2 spokesperson Theresa Hamilton, “Our custodial staffs are using cold and flu season protocols.” Thursday is already the last day of school before the week-long Thanksgiving break. Re-2 schools are on a four-day week, and do not have Friday classes.

The Glenwood Springs Post Independent contributed to this report.

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