South Bay schools in scrub-down mode after possible norovirus outbreak

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The San Jose Unified School District is in scrub down mode after hundreds of students got sick with signs pointing to the norovirus as the cause.

Recess was a little different today for students at Hacienda Magnet, where the play structure, as well as the playground equipment was off-limits as the district deals with the outbreak.

Elizabeth Hirai called it a smart move after her two daughters were forced to stay home because of the virus."My girls yesterday slept throughout the day, napped and then slept through the night," Hirai said Hacienda was hit the hardest with nearly 90 students who have reported feeling sick. The total number of sickened students has grown to 240 cases spread across at least ten campuses.

"When our son comes home, we make sure he washes his hands, and takes care of everything that he needs to take care of, and we watch him to make sure he doesn't have any signs of it," San Jose resident Ruben Esquibel said.

Nurses are going from room to room at the affected schools to teach students how to properly wash their hands. High-touch surfaces are being wiped down with bleach.

At Anne Darling Elementary, Principal Ron Hammond says communicating with families has been the key.

RELATED: Hundreds of students sickened by possible norovirus outbreak

"Maintaining that communication and we're thoughtful about it, and we're intentional about it, and I think that's what's kept our numbers down, and I'm very proud of the effort," Hammond said.

Some schools have canceled non-instructional activities for the time being.

"It was sad to lose out on back to school night. It was sad to lose out on some of the activities, but I think if we can contain it in a shorter amount of time, and move on, then I think everybody will be better," Hirai said.

The district is also utilizing extra janitorial staff for after-hours cleaning.

Here is a list of the schools affected:
John Muir Middle School
Hacienda Environmental Science Magnet School
Anne Darling Elementary
Horace Mann Elementary
Olinder Elementary
Washington Elementary
Grant Elementary

Terrell Elementary
Willow Glen Elementary
Carson Elementary

Norovirus prevention tips:
The Center for Disease Control says to prevent noroviruses you should wash your hands carefully and thoroughly with soap and water and always wash your hands before eating, preparing or handling food.

They also say you can use hand sanitizers but they should not be used as a substitute for hand washing.

Those who fear they have been in contact with a norovirus should clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces. Laundry should also be paid close attention to and washed thoroughly.

Click here for more tips on how to protect yourself and your family from noroviruses.
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