Update: More Schools Close Down Due to Norovirus Outbreak


  • Courtesy of the CDC
Update: Add the Fortuna Elementary School District to the growing list, according to a Facebook post. There will be no classes tomorrow at any of the four campuses.

Another five schools are closing due to an outbreak of the norovirus with the Rio Dell, Cutten and Fieldbrook districts taking Friday off, according to the county Department of Health and Human Services.

South Bay Union shut down all of its campuses last week and Eureka City Schools followed suit yesterday. All together students at 18 county schools have seen their winter breaks start earlier. Additional schools are contemplating closures, according to the release.

Unfortunately, the circumstances are extremely unpleasant with the norovirus causing nausea, fever, vomiting and other uncomfortable conditions that generally pass on their own after a few days.

The highly contagious virus is notoriously difficult to combat due to its resistance to many disinfectants.

Read the full release from DHHS below:
Due to a further increase in the number of students with symptoms consistent with norovirus, five additional schools have elected to close early for the winter break.

The schools are Eagle Prairie Elementary and Monument Middle School, both in the Rio Dell School District, Ridgewood and Cutten schools in the Cutten School District, and Fieldbrook Elementary School.

The closure of all five schools will take effect Friday morning.

This brings to 18 the number of Humboldt County schools closed due to a norovirus outbreak that first appeared last week. Additional schools are contemplating closure.

There is no cure for the highly contagious virus, which generally passes on its own within a few days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that it cannot be treated with antibiotics, because it is a viral, rather than bacterial, infection. Drinking lots of fluids is recommended to replace those lost during the course of illness.

Symptoms include nausea, fever, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea. Infected people typically show symptoms within 12 to 48 hours of exposure to the virus. Infectiousness is believed to last at least 24 hours after recovery.

Hand washing is the best defense. Wash hands frequently throughout the day with soap and water. Hand sanitizing gels and wipes are ineffective against the virus. Clean contaminated surfaces thoroughly with a strong disinfectant such as bleach.

Rio Dell District Facebook post:
Good afternoon Rio Dell School District Families.
We have seen an extremely rapid rise in the number of students in our schools experiencing symptoms of Norovirus. We have worked closely with the County Department of Public Health to determine the best course of action for our district.

As a result, we are taking the precautionary measure of closing our schools to help stop the spread of the illness. The health and safety of our students is our top priority. This means that school will be closed on Friday, December 22nd. The campus closure will ensure the time needed to deep clean our schools before students return to school. Please feel free to pick up your child early today, however, we will continue to run our program through the end of the day.

This also means that we will be postponing the winter festival at this time. We recognize the importance of this event to the community and the students. When we know a date we will let everyone know.

School will resume as normal on January 8th.

Kevin Trone
Rio Dell School District

Fortuna Middle School Facebook post:
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: FESD is closing all schools December 22, 2017 per Public Health. Please share. If you attend FMS, Ambrosini, Toddy, or SFES do NOT come to school tomorrow.

Have a safe break and we will see you January 8, 2018 at 8:30 a.m.

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