SANTA MONICA, Calif. - Parents of students at a Santa Monica school were being asked Friday to keep their children at home and monitor them amid fears of a possible norovirus outbreak.
John Adams Middle School in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District was shut down after more than 100 students and faculty came down with an illness, which medical experts believe is the norovirus.
The exact number of students affected was not clear as of Friday morning.
"They have told us they do suspect it's norovirus. They are investigating. They're talking with people that have been infected with this illness, and they'll be doing lab tests on them, and nothing is conclusive," said Gail Pinsker, a spokesperson for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.
The students may have been exposed to the virus while on a five-day science field trip to Yosemite, according to district officials.
"Kids coming back on the bus on Friday, there were a few that started to exhibit symptoms of this illness, and through the weekend, we learned of more and more kids and a couple of the adults on the trip," Pinsker said.
Health officials said the virus is spread by direct contact with an infected person. Symptoms of the norovirus include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. They typically begin within an hour to 48 hours after exposure.
Due to the norovirus being highly contagious, district officials closed the campus for at least the day and planned to scrub it down with anti-bacterial cleansers.
"They felt that by closing down an additional day, it would disrupt the virus, giving it a 72-hour period to kind of break the spread of that virus," said Steve Richardson, the principal of John Adams Middle School.
The school was expected to resume normal operations on Monday, though officials are advising parents to keep their children at home if they're showing any symptoms.