Norovirus-like symptoms seen at Boulevard Heights Elementary School

Broward County Public Schools cleaning, sanitizing classrooms, common areas

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HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - A contagious stomach flu-like virus is making an unusually high number of students at Boulevard Heights Elementary School in Hollywood sick.

"Been a lot of children in our school that are sick," said student Taylor Frangesh.

"He was nauseated when he came home," Bianca Hampton said of her son. "He told me he drank from the water fountain, so he was a little nauseated and he had a little fever."

With the high number of students getting sick, the virus has made its way into some of their homes.

"He got sick, the brother, the sister and me -- the whole family," said Melissa Prado.

Broward County Public Schools released a statement saying the district is working with the health department over gastric concerns that were being experienced by an unusually high number of students. School officials were cleaning and sanitizing classrooms, common areas and the playground.

"They said that the water was causing it and not to drink from the water fountains and if you didn't bring your own bottled water you still couldn't drink from the water fountain," said Frangesh. "They put garbage bags over the water fountains."

Parents were also provided instructions from the district on recognizing symptoms to encouraging their children to wash their hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom and prior to eating.

Since last Friday, when first noted, reports of the illness and absences have been significantly reduced after the school sent a letter home warning parents, but not everyone received the warning.

"My two daughters haven't (been sick), but I never received any letter," said Sofia Adams.

While the district could not confirm it was Norovirus, the symptoms are similar and it may have come from the school's water supply.

"It is just scary, but like they said, just make sure they wash their hands," said parent Paula Ganthia. "That's all you can do."

"The health and safety of our students and staff are always our highest priorities," the statement said. "We will continue to work with and follow the direction of the health department on this issue."

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