Some students at Harmony Elementary still sick after possible stomach flu outbreak

Harmony Elementary students returned to their Buford school Monday morning after environmental workers sanitized the building to prevent the spread of stomach flu.

Public health department officials recommended that the campus close down Friday after more than 20 percent of the school's nearly 640  students showed symptoms of the virus, and checked out. Eight teachers also fell ill.

"The school was cleaned and disinfected," said Jorge Quintana, spokesman for Gwinnett Schools. "The health department recommended for all horizontal surfaces to be wiped. They provided us with a list of cleaning products to use."

Officials with the East Metro Health District visited Harmony Elementary Friday to investigate the cause of the students' illness as Gwinnett Schools crews cleaned the building.  Health officials suspected the outbreak was caused by gastroenteritis but wanted confirmation. The virus causes vomiting and acute diarrhea.

Health officials on Monday had not concluded their investigation, but the time away from school did help some students to recover, Quintana said.  The number of children out sick at Harmony Elementary had dropped from 130 students to 42 students, about 6 percent of the population.

"We are asking parents if their child is still sick to keep them at home until they are symptom free," Quintana said.