Carver Elementary School in Long Beach closed amid norovirus outbreak

All school and childcare operations were shut down from Friday, March 17 to Wednesday, March 22 at George Washington Carver Elementary School due to a norovirus outbreak, Long Beach Unified School District officials announced. 

Authorities called for the closure after consulting with health officials with Long Beach Health and Human Services.

"We know that a sudden school closure creates challenges, and we apologize for the impact upon our families. Your child’s health and the safety of our educational environment is of utmost importance to us," officials wrote in a letter that was sent to parents.

The norovirus is a highly contagious virus that causes vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain. It spreads primarily through direct and indirect contact with a sick person’s poop or vomit.

"Direct and indirect contact includes changing diapers, caring for or sharing foods or utensils with a sick person, touching contaminated areas, surfaces, or objects, and then touching their mouth or food before washing their hands," the letter sent out to parents explained. 

One parent told FOX 11 that before the closure, the school continued operations despite several students falling ill over the past several weeks. "They should have closed sooner to prevent so many people from being sick," they wrote. 

Health officials said symptoms begin 12 to 48 hours after contact and can last up to three days. In addition, those who become infected can remain contagious for up to two weeks. 

Once the school campus reopens, students and staff who are experiencing symptoms of the norovirus are asked not to report to the campus until they have stopped experiencing symptoms for 48 hours.