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Heights School Closure Not Affecting Dearborn Schools, District Confirms

Annapolis High School was closed on Friday after around 300 students became sick on Thursday.

A Dearborn Heights school was closed Friday when around 300 of the school's 800 students—as well as some staffers—called in sick on Thursday.

According to the Dearborn Press and Guide, Annapolis High School is being cleaned by an outside crew due to concerns that the illnesses may be caused by the highly contagious norovirus.

The norovirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, produces often severe flu-like symptoms, and can be spread through a person, surface, or contaminated food or water.

Dearborn Public Schools spokesman David Mustonen said Friday that although the outbreak is hitting close to home, there's no cause for concern in the DPS district.

"We're fine here," he said. "We haven't had any big sicknesses."

He confirmed that a few weeks ago at Stout Middle School, there were "a higher than normal number of kids" out sick with flu-like symptoms. However, because the incident happened on a Friday, there was no need to close the school as custodial staff were able to deep clean the building over the weekend.

According to Mustonen, the district's policy on absences is to let schools handle them, for the most part.

"If there’s an anomaly in attendance, usually the school will contact us or we’ll contact the school," he explained. "We would report it to the health department and ... get direction from them as far as what steps should be taken”

Mustonen assured that Dearborn parents shouldn't be worried.

"If we notice anything, we’ll take steps to look into it and do preventative things to make sure that doesn’t happen," he said, adding that parents, students and staff should be vigilant about washing their hands and watching for signs of illness. "It’s the time of year where we’re starting to close all the window and doors … so all those things are getting trapped inside."

The CDC offers tips for preventing infection and spread of the norovirus, including washing one's hands frequently and thoroughly; cleaning contaminated surfaces; and making sure that an infected person does not prepare food or care for others.

Linda November 19, 2012 at 12:46 AM
"Mustonen assured that Dearborn parents shouldn't be worried.....we’ll take steps to look into it and do preventative things to make sure that doesn’t happen," Parents definately should be worried. I'm not sure if there is a single public school that has an effective germ prevention program in place that actually works. In many years of my professional career the only example of an effective program I have seen was in a daycare industry and some private schools where they used a specialized service from disimax. Unfortunately it's one of those things that no one pays attention to unless there is a MRSA or Norovirus outbreak. Linda

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