Keep your children home if they are too sick for school.
That’s what the Broward School District is reminding parents to do after more than 300 Manatee Bay Elementary students became ill on Friday with stomach-flu-like symptoms.
School officials and the Florida Department of Health in Broward still are investigating what caused the illnesses. Meanwhile, janitors thoroughly sanitized the school on Saturday, district spokeswoman Tracy Clark said.
Parents of children who attend the Weston school should stay on the lookout for gastroenteritis symptoms, including vomiting, fever or diarrhea. If the symptoms vanish, students may return to school on Monday. If symptoms persist, they should be taken to a doctor, officials say.
The first sick students walked into the nurse’s’ office on Friday morning, and Clark said students kept coming in until the end of the school day at 2 p.m. School officials’ concern grew when a higher-than-normal number of students reported being sick. Two school staff members also had a minor illness.
Parents of students who didn’t get sick learned of the stomach bug through letters sent home with the more than 1,100 students who attend the school, Clark said.
The letters stated the school had received “numerous reports of students experiencing signs and symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea and fever,” and it also listed disease-prevention tips. In addition, parents were notified through an automated phone call.
The school made “every effort to reach out to parents and be in contact with them,” school district spokeswoman Nadine Drew said.
The Florida Department of Health wants parents to make sure children thoroughly wash their hands frequently with soap and water, “especially after using the bathroom and prior to eating.”
Students’ “health, safety and welfare” are the district’s “highest priorities,” Clark said. “We will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.”
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The Florida Department of Health advises parents to take the following precautions:
Encourage children to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom and prior to eating.
Keep children home if they have stomach-flu-like symptoms, including an upset stomach, vomiting, fever or diarrhea.
Keep children home from school until they are symptom-free. ___
(c)2013 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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