Seaford school closed early due to norovirus

Headteacher Amanda Gard
Headteacher Amanda Gard

Another Seahaven school closed early for the Christmas break yesterday (Thursday December 20) as almost half the children were suffering the winter vomiting bug.

Headteacher Mrs Amanda Gard said yesterday 190 Chyngton School, Seaford, pupils had norovirus and the school would be closed today.

The news came after Tideway School in Newhaven announced it would shut from today until after the Christmas holiday.

In a letter to parents and guardians, Mrs Gard said the Millberg Road school had a ‘large number of children’ with the bug or flu-like symptoms.

“Numbers have increased steadily over the week and today we have 190 children off sick (just under half of the school),” she said.

“In light of these high numbers and the risk of reinfection, I have consulted with governors and decided to close the school on Friday.”

She said the decision had been made as a result of discussions with the Health Protection Agency and East Sussex County Council’s Health and Safety Team.

“We have tried over the last three days to run normally whilst restricting the spread of infection through use of detergent and anti-bacterial spray and additional cleaning hours but the number of children absent continued to rise,” she said.

“I am very concerned that the spread of the disease close to Christmas could result in relatives of those in school being infected, particularly the elderly, very young and vulnerable for whom the implications could be serious.

“By closing now we will be able to begin a deep clean without surfaces being recontaminated and prepare the school for re-opening after the holiday.

“I hope the many children who are suffering are able to recover quickly and that you and your families have a very happy Christmas.”

Norovirus is highly contagious and causes vomiting and diarrhoea.

There is no cure, so sufferers have to let it run its course, but it should not last more than a couple of days.

While the virus is not dangerous, the resulting dehydration is more of a risk in the very young and the elderly.

The NHS said it was important to get medical attention straight away if you think your child is becoming dehydrated.

In extreme cases severe dehydration can lead to kidney failure and low blood pressure, even death.

The NHS advises patients to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration and wash hands frequently to help prevent it from spreading.

It also tells people not share towels and flannels and disinfect any surfaces that an infected person has touched.

Between 600,000 and one million people in the UK catch norovirus every year.

Outbreaks in busy places such as hospitals, nursing homes and schools are common because the virus can survive for several days on surfaces or objects touched by an infected person.

The NHS says if you have norovirus, the following steps should help ease your symptoms:

•Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

•Take paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains.

•If you feel like eating, eat foods that are easy to digest.

•Stay at home and don’t go to the doctor, because norovirus is contagious and there is nothing the doctor can do while you have it.

•However, contact your GP to seek advice if your symptoms last longer than a few days or if you already have a serious illness.

Extra care should be taken to prevent babies and small children who are vomiting or have diarrhoea from dehydrating, by giving them plenty of fluids. Babies and young children can still drink milk.

The virus is easily spread by contact with an infected person, especially through their hands. You can also catch it through contaminated food or drink or by touching contaminated surfaces or objects.

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