The lights were on and the mops were out inside the Bridport Central School Wednesday night after roughly 80 of its 130 students and staff either called in or went home sick earlier in the day.
"My daughter woke up in the middle of the night, was sick," says Corey Pratt of Bridport.
Pratt owns Pratt's Store just down the road from the school. His wife and 11 year-old daughter are among those who are under the weather. "To have that many in such a short period of time is scary and hopefully they can figure out what the problem is," he says.
Symptoms include diarrhea and vomiting and early signs point to the Norovirus also known as the stomach flu.
"This is certainly the environment where Norovirus can easily spread where there are children and a lot of touching of objects," says Vermont Health Department infectious disease epidemiologist Bradley Tompkins.
The Vermont Health Department is investigating the large number of cases at the school and is testing samples from those who are sick. Bradley's also sharing tips on when it's best for kids to return to their normal routines, "You should probably wait 24 hours after they are no longer experiencing symptoms, thorough hand-washing is the best way to prevent Norovirus from spreading and if your child is sick you should be careful to keep them hydrated.
The district has called off school for Thursday and Friday and is sanitizing the school.
"I think it is the best decision, I mean that's a proactive way, they could do nothing and we would be further behind," says Pratt.
The Vermont Health Department says it will take one to two days to collect samples and another few days to confirm whether the Norovirus is officially what's made people sick.
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