Norovirus still plaguing schools

Many pleading to keep sick kids home
Posted at 6:09 PM, May 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-16 21:00:29-04

Dozens of kids are still filling up the nurse's office at a Tampa elementary school. Many of them have the norovirus. Now, there's one thing schools and parents are hoping every family will do.

Catherine Barnhill and her three little girls are home building Legos.

For over two weeks, the girls have been sharing more than just their toys. The norovirus, making its way through Lowry Elementary School first, took down the seven-year-old baby.

RELATED: Norovirus confirmed at local elementary school after more than 100 students fell ill

"The next morning lots of parents were posting on Facebook that their kids were sick," Barnhill said.

In the days that have followed, two and half year old Rosie got sick, mom Catherine who is eight months pregnant, came down with the virus on Mother's Day. Then this week, Abby got it again.

"It is violent! I don't want to gross anybody out, but it is vomiting, it's diarrhea. It is chills and hot flashes," said Barnhill.

After the outbreak started, the school district worked with the health department on several thorough clean-ups. The number of absences have been dropping with 78 kids still out Tuesday. But Barnhill says too many sick kids are still coming to class.

"Bleach only does so much when there's actively sick kids at school," said Barnhill.

The district and doctors agree if your kid is showing symptoms, it's best to keep them home. And the virus can stick around longer than you might think.

RELATED: 40+ students contract stomach illness at Bay area school

"After you start with symptoms, you can spread it for five to seven days later," said pediatrician Dr. Jorge Castellvi.

But Barnhill knows it's tough for working parents to find childcare and kids are anxious to get in on the year-end fun.

"They might be going to school ill because they don't want to miss out, but if you can keep your kids at home, please keep them at home!" Barnhill said.

Her family is hoping to stay healthy and finish the final days of the school year on a good note.