Local News

Moses Lake school shuts down to stop virus spread

MOSES LAKE, Wash. - A fast spreading virus in Moses Lake has shut down Longview Elementary School with more than a quarter of the students calling in sick.

School may be closed for students at Longview Elementary but that doesn't mean the staff has the day off. They were busy inside cleaning everything they can hoping to get this thing cleaned up before the start of school on Monday.

The Longview Elementary School playground was eerily quite for a Friday. A quick glance at the signs out front explains why..

"Maybe four or five students that, throughout the day, said that their stomachs started hurting and they wanted to go home," Rogelio Gonzalez said.

ML norovirus outbreak

Gonzalez now has a three day weekend.. His dad was surprised to hear more than 100 students had called in sick.

"This is the first time I heard that so many kids are sick in a school but it can happen," Javier Castro said.

The Grant County Health District thinks it's an outbreak of the norovirus.

"So norovirus is the cruise ship virus. It's that thing that people, that 24-48 hour bug sometimes people call it the stomach flu although it has nothing to do with the flu or influenza," health district administrator Jeff Ketchel said.

The virus causes the same symptoms you'd find in a Pepto Bismol commercial: Upset stomach, fever, diarrhea.

"We think it might be norovirus. It is definitely norovirus like," Ketchel said.

It also spreads like wildfire and lives on countertops, seats and other objects.

"I heard of one that puked on the bus which was not so, which was not so good," Gonzalez said.

That's why Longview is locked down while teachers clean everything.

"Better safe then sorry; I think the school is doing the right thing," Castro said.

Health officials said the best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to stay clean with soap and water and stay away from others if you are sick.

"It's also important that you stay home for at least 48 hours after you're done being sick cause you're still passing the virus and you can still make other people sick," Ketchel added.

Because the virus is so hard to kill it will probably spread.

"While this is contained to just one school this will very easily pass through the community," Ketchel explained.

That's why the students are out of school for the day.

"We are going to go fishing later on so, yeah, we are just having a good day. It's a beautiful day to be out," Castro said.

Hopefully the three day weekend will give those students that are sick a chance to recover and wake up bright and early for school on Monday morning.