Norovirus is suspected in school closure

RENO — Health authorities are suspicious that the same virus that has swept through cruise ships recently is responsible for sickening at least 100 students and staff members at Alice Smith Elementary in Reno this week.

The year-round school in Golden Valley closed early Thursday after parents were called to pick up their children.

Students and teachers at Smith Elementary have reported vomiting, diarrhea or other flulike symptoms since Tuesday. All are symptoms of the norovirus.

Health officials took stool samples from students and staff members Wednesday and Thursday.

“The (tests) won’t be back for a couple days but it’s looking like norovirus, like the kind that spreads fast through cruise ships, nursing homes and day care centers,” said Davis, spokeswoman for the Washoe District Health Department.

Davis said parents should have family members wash their hands after using the bathroom and before eating.

Officials hope to reopen the school Monday.

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