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Sixty Percent of Nampa's Lone Star Middle School Stayed Home Friday

District health suspects an outbreak of norovirus at the school

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Parents are urged to keep ill children home for 24 hours after symptoms pass. - LONE STAR MIDDLE SCHOOL
  • Lone Star Middle School
  • Parents are urged to keep ill children home for 24 hours after symptoms pass.

More than 450 students were absent from Nampa's Lone Star Middle School this week:150 students were out on Thursday, May 7, due to illness, and throughout the day, another 30 kids were sent home. According to a report by KTVB, on Friday, May 8, the number of students absent from school bumped up to 468—nearly 60 percent of the students who attend Lone Star.

Health officials suspect the illness may be caused by norovirus, a highly contagious stomach flu that spreads rapidly in small spaces like classrooms. Southwest District Health is still waiting on test results to confirm norovirus as the cause of the outbreak.

According to the Nampa School District spokeswoman Alison Westfall, custodians took extra care to disinfect the school on Thursday night. Several parents kept their children home, even if they didn't have symptoms, just as a precaution. 

Southwest District Health's epidemiologist, Raemi Nolevanko, told KTVB that the best way to stop the spread of norovirus is thorough and constant hand washing, especially after using the restroom or before preparing food. 

"Best thing you can do is definitely keep your kids at home if they are ill for at least 24 hours after their symptoms resolve," Nolevanko said.

A news release from Southwest District Health said symptoms usually begin 12 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus, which can survive on surfaces for a long time if they aren't disinfected. Other tips for dealing with and avoiding the virus can be found here.

A total of 800 kids attend Lone Start Middle School and, so far, the illness appears to be isolated there. Westfall said no other schools in the district reported high numbers of absences for May 8. The flu lasts two to three days, so most of the affected students should be feeling better by Monday.