Gwinnett students back after mass illness

Gwinnett County school officials said Tuesday that Britt Elementary School has been deemed safe by health department staff after about one-quarter of the students fell ill late last week.

School officials said they thoroughly cleaned the school and its buses before students returned Tuesday. All Gwinnett schools were closed Monday.

More than 100 students were not in school Friday and 25 students checked out after feeling sick, Gwinnett officials said. The illnesses began Thursday.

Thirty-five students did not report for class Tuesday when the school day started at 8:50 a.m. The school has about 600 students.

Some parents were cautious about bringing their children to school Tuesday.

“I’m iffy, but what can you do?,” said Keith Williams, whose daughter is a fifth-grader at the school. “She can’t stay home and not get an education.”

Christian Jablonski, who provides after-school care for four Britt students, said the parents were anxious.

“They were hoping with the three-day weekend (the students) would be in the clear, but they were still concerned,” Jablonski said.

School officials said last week the students likely became ill from Norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea. A health department official said Tuesday it is still investigating what caused the illness. Health officials are encouraging people to wash their hands before eating or handling food and after using the bathroom or changing diapers.

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