Valkyries Recover from Widespread Illness

Payton Sims and Hayes Turney

Sacred Heart Academy was closed on Jan. 8, 2018 due to a widespread illness. According to Assistant Principal Amy Nall, when first seeing the virus, it seemed evident that it was not food poisoning because the reports that students gave about their illnesses were inconsistent, all based off different meals. One student’s family took her to the doctor and the doctor reported it was symptoms of the norovirus.

Norovirus is often referred to as the “cruise ship virus” because of its tendency to spread through people living in close quarters. As a close-knit community, Sacred Heart students spend much of the day in close proximity with each other, especially in the cafeteria during lunch period. It is likely that in such a crowded area with so much activity, contagions were spread easily and quickly and were able to affect a large amount of students.

Students can be contagious even with no sign of symptoms for 48 hours. The symptoms include, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or cramps, watery or loose diarrhea, malaise, low-grade fever, and muscle pain.

Sacred Heart Academy was closed on Jan. 8 to allow for diligent cleaning. During the closing, the custodial staff cleaned every classroom, bathroom, the cafeteria, and lockers to the health code standards. FLIK is a national company and they have their own standards and protocol for their food. FLIK followed their protocol by throwing out all food in the cafeteria. As of now, everything will be single served, therefore there will be no threat of cross contamination for the next few days, while the students are recovering.

Widespread illness is not uncommon during this time of year. In past years, Sacred Heart has had large amounts of absentees around this same time. Because this is not unusual, it is important to be cautious and make an effort to prevent infection.

Mrs. Amy Nall said “being extra cautious is the key.”

Some ways to keep the students healthy while this virus is going around is by washing your hands or using hand sanitizer before and after eating meals, and after using the restroom and sneezing. Also, trying not to touch your face and mouth after coming in contact with possibly contaminated surfaces. If you are sick, you should not come into school, because you are still contagious after 48 hours.