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Stomach Bug Sweeps Through McKinley Elementary School

More than 100 students were out sick today (Thursday) at McKinley Elementary School after a stomach bug swept through campus.

An Arlington Public Schools spokesman said 135 of the school’s 800 students were out, after about 85 were absent yesterday (Wednesday).

The spokesman said that while it sounded like a “typical [stomach] bug that makes its way around this time of year,” he said he could not be sure that all the absences were related to it.

Multiple anonymous tipsters reported the spread of the illness through the school at 1030 N. McKinley Road in Madison Manor.

The School Health Bureau within the county’s Department of Health sent a letter to parents warning of an “increase in reported symptoms of gastrointestinal illness,” and urging parents to make sure children wash their hands and stay home if they develop vomiting or diarrhea.

Parents throughout APS can expect to receive a letter soon about winter illnesses in the community, which the spokesman said is “typically sent each December to our families as a reminder.”

The School Health Bureau’s letter to McKinley parents is after the jump.

Dear McKinley Families:

This communication is being sent to let you know that Public Health has been receiving an increase in reported symptoms of gastrointestinal illness in members of the McKinley school community.

HOW IT SPREADS: These pathogens are typically HIGHLY contagious through contact with an infected person’s vomit or stool, or through contact with contaminated food or objects.

Please do not send your child to school if they were feeling sick the day before.

  • This includes vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain/cramping, or fever.
  • Even if they feel okay on the morning of school, they are still able to spread the illness to others.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Make sure your child washes their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water both at home and at school. Scrubbing should last for 20 seconds. If your child develops vomiting or diarrhea, we recommend that you keep your child home for 24 hours after the symptoms stop before sending your child back to school.

WHAT WE ARE DOING: School Health, which is part of the Public Health Division, is working closely with Arlington Public Schools to identify cases and to prevent the spread of the disease. Shared surfaces are being disinfected each day and after any illnesses at school.

IF SYMPTOMS DEVELOP: Please keep your child at home and inform the school. For additional guidance, contact your healthcare provider and provide them with a copy of this letter. Your child will need to remain at home until they are free from symptoms for one entire day (24 hours).

WARNING: Monitor for signs of dehydration if your child is unable to keep fluids down.

MORE INFORMATION: If you want to read more, information from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is available at https://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/about/index.html.

QUESTIONS: If you have questions, please contact the school clinic at (703) 228-8254. The School Health Bureau’s website is www.apsva.us/schoolhealth.

Sincerely,

Sarah Bell, RN, MPH
School Health Bureau Chief

Samuel Stebbins, MD, MPH
School Health Physician

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Morning Notes

View of Rosslyn from Courthouse

Norovirus Outbreak at School — More than 80 students at Oakridge Elementary in south Arlington are out sick as a result of a suspected norovirus outbreak. The virus causes symptoms like “stomach aches, fever, vomiting and, in some cases, diarrhea.” [NBC Washington]

Sign Controversy at Yorktown — Some conservatives are upset that teachers at Yorktown High School are being allowed to hang “politically suggestive” signs in their classrooms. The signs read: “Patriots Know: Facts are not political. Diversity strengthens us. Science is real. Women’s rights are human rights. Justice is for all. We’re all immigrants. Kindness is everything.” [Daily Caller]

Yorktown Lacrosse Star Nears 200 Goals — Yorktown senior lacrosse star Laura Crawford is nearing the 200-goal mark for high school career. Crawford, a three-time team MVP, has committed to Penn. [Washington Post]

Female UAE Hockey Player Visits Caps — Fatima Al Ali, a hockey player and coach from United Arab Emirates, has been visiting with the Washington Capitals this week as part of the NHL’s “Hockey Is For Everyone month.” The visit has included taking the ice at the Caps practice facility in Ballston and dropping the puck at last night’s game at Verizon Center. [Fox 5, Al-Arabiya]

Levine, Favola Advance Rape Kit BillUpdated at 9:40 a.m. — Legislation sponsored by Del. Mark Levine and state Sen. Barbara Favola, which Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol helped to craft, has passed unanimously in the Virginia House of Delegates. The bill calls for police to keep rape kits for a longer period of time even if the victim is not ready to prosecute. [WVTF]

MMA Studio Gives Parents a Night Off — A mixed martial arts gym is not a place that one would usually think of as a babysitting venue, but that’s precisely what Pentagon MMA on Columbia Pike will be Saturday night. The business is hosting a “parents’ night out” event for Valentine’s Day, letting mom or dad “enjoy a worry-free evening with your special someone this Valentine’s Day while your child enjoys a night of structured activities in a supervised environment.” [Pentagon MMA]

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Dozens of Students Sent Home from Barcroft With Stomach Bug

Barcroft Elementary School 2-19-14(Updated at 4:40 p.m.) Dozens of students at Barcroft Elementary School were sent home from school on Friday with stomach illnesses.

The contagion prompted school officials to cancel after-school activities on Friday, including a PTA-sponsored “Sweetheart Dance.” Students were sent home with a letter on Friday advising parents on how to prevent the spread of gastrointestinal illness.

“This communication is being sent to let you know that Public Health has been receiving an increase in reported symptoms of gastrointestinal illness in members of the Barcroft school community,” the letter reads. “If your child develops vomiting or diarrhea, we recommend that you keep your child home for 24 hours after the symptoms stop before sending your child back to school.”

School will reopen and activities will resume as normal on Wendesday, weather permitting.

School Health Bureau Chief Marian Harmon told ARLnow.com in an email this afternoon that, between Feb. 11 and Feb. 13, 38 students at Barcroft were either sent home or stayed home with gastrointestinal issues.

“Kids were lying around the office waiting to be picked up” on Friday, an ARLnow.com tipster wrote in an email.

Because Arlington Public Schools offices were closed due to the snow today, officials could not confirm the number of cases reported at Barcroft. In the letter, APS said all shared surfaces in the school are disinfected “each day and after any illnesses at the school.”

After the jump, the letter APS sent home with Barcroft students.

Dear Barcroft Families:

This communication is being sent to let you know that Public Health has been receiving an increase in reported symptoms of gastrointestinal illness in members of the Barcroft school community.

FACTS:  Many viruses and some bacteria can cause “gastroenteritis”, or infection of the stomach and/or intestines. Symptoms typically resolve in a few days in most cases. Prevention is essential because of a lack of vaccines and effective treatments for these pathogens.

HOW IT SPREADS:  These pathogens are typically HIGHLY contagious through contact with an infected person’s vomit or stool, or through contact with contaminated food or objects.

PLEASE DO NOT SEND YOUR CHILD TO SCHOOL IF:

  • You know or suspect that your child has a fever or is ill. Please delay sending her/him to school and take the time to feel certain that she/he is well enough to participate in school activities.
  • Your child has vomited the night before, or in the morning before going to school.
  • Your child has diarrhea, stomach pain or cramping.
  • Your child complains of generally not feeling well.
  • Your child has any combination of the above symptoms.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Make sure your child washes their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water both at home and at school. Scrubbing should last for 20 seconds. If your child develops vomiting or diarrhea, we recommend that you keep your child home for 24 hours after the symptoms stop before sending your child back to school.

WHAT WE ARE DOING: School Health, which is part of the Public Health Division, is working closely with Arlington Public Schools to identify cases and to prevent the spread of the disease. Shared surfaces are being disinfected each day and after any illnesses at school.

IF SYMPTOMS DEVELOP:  Please keep your child at home and inform the school. For additional guidance, contact your healthcare provider and provide them with a copy of this letter. Your child will need to remain at home until they are free from symptoms for one entire day (24 hours).

WARNING:  Monitor for signs of dehydration if your child is unable to keep fluids down.

MORE INFORMATION:  If you want to read more, information from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is available at http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/about/overview.html.

QUESTIONS:  If you have questions, please contact the school clinic at (703) 228-8109. The School Health Bureau’s website is www.apsva.us/schoolhealth.

Sincerely,

Marian D. Harmon, MSN, RN                          Samuel Stebbins, MD, MPH

School Health Bureau Chief                              Public Health Physician

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Possible Norovirus Outbreak at Long Branch Elementary

Long Branch Elementary School (photo via APS)School and health department officials are investigating a possible norovirus outbreak at Long Branch Elementary School.

At least 20 students went to the school clinic Friday because of nausea or vomiting, according to Arlington Dept. of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick.

Officials say they’re investigating whether the illness was caused by norovirus, and whether the virus might have spread due to a bathroom that was not cleaned properly.

Photo via APS

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Morning Notes

Photographer at the Memorial Bridge by Wolfkann

Norovirus Outbreak at Nottingham Elementary — Dozens of students at Nottingham Elementary School have been sickened in what is believed to be an outbreak of norovirus. The contagious stomach illness causes serious nausea and vomiting. So far, Arlington Public Schools officials have not responded to a request for more information from ARLnow.com. [WJLA]

County Board Not Interested in Meals Tax Changes — In response to a speaker at Saturday’s Arlington County Board meeting who was critical of the county’s 4 percent meals tax, County Board members said they’re not inclined to make any changes to the tax. The meals tax is levied on restaurant bills and on the purchase of prepared meals from grocery stores, on top of the state’s 5 percent sales tax. [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Org Targeted By IRS — The Clarendon-based Leadership Institute, a conservative training organization, says it was among the conservative groups targeted for audits and extra scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service. [Washington Free Beacon]

Bike to Work Day Photos — Bike Arlington has published two photo albums from Friday’s Bike to Work Day on Facebook. The albums show Bike to Work Day festivities in Ballston and Rosslyn.

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

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