Norovirus outbreak still concerns parents

Dozens of students sickened at Manatee Bay Elementary

WESTON, Fla. – Parents of students at Manatee Bay Elementary School still had questions Thursday about a norovirus outbreak that sickened hundreds of students there.

The Florida Department of Health said a thorough cleaning of the school eliminated the virus, but students have continued to miss classes.

"Where did it start? Why is it still there?" asked Harvey Pake, whose child attends the school. "It's just a big concern. It's upsetting."

Parents blamed the cafeteria as the source of the outbreak, where students said they have been pouring water from a jug instead of drinking bottled water.

"The teachers are telling us to wash our hands a lot and we have a water station with cups and a gallon of water," said fifth grader Bailer Gomez.

"They're pouring it out of a gallon jug, and it's the kids that are pouring it out, not the teachers, so I'm kind of concerned with what is going on," said Pake.

Some of the students have returned to class, including fourth grader Gracie Duncan, who was ill for a few days before she was cleared for school.

Several parents have raised concerns about the school not having enough janitors. Others said the health risk isn't great enough to keep their children at home.

"I feel confident that everything is going to be okay and if they drink a lot of water and wash their hands everything will be fine," said Mercedes Gomez.

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