Illness That Sent More Than 300 Manatee Bay Elementary Students Home Identified as Norovirus

The Florida Department of Health determined the illness that sent more than 300 students home was Norovirus.

By Sharon Lawson and Alexandra Leon
|  Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013  |  Updated 6:17 PM EDT
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Parents are seeking answers after a

Parents are seeking answers after a "mystery" illness that sent more than 300 students home from a Broward school remains unidentified. NBC 6's Sharon Lawson spoke with parents Dee Martinez and Jill Pake about the sickness.

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Students Return to Manatee Bay Elementary School After 300 Got Sick

Students returned to Manatee Bay Elementary School in Weston after more than 300 became ill last week. Jahaziel and Regina Hall, Jennifer Grassia and Abiola Awonusonu comment.

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The illness that caused more than 300 students to become ill at a Broward school has been identified as Norovirus, school officials said.

At least 88 students remained home sick and two were sent home Wednesday from the illness, according to Broward School District spokeswoman Nadine Drew.

The illness caused students at Manatee Bay Elementary School in Weston to experience symptoms of gastroenteritis, including vomiting, diarrhea and fever last Friday.

Over the weekend, the school district disinfected the school to keep the students safe. Officials have advised parents to pack their children's lunch and bring their own water bottles to avoid using the water fountains. Recess will be held indoors and lunch will be eaten in the classrooms.

Several parents still had questions Wednesday, wondering what caused the "mystery" illness.

"Was it the food? Somebody who prepared the food sick and got these kids sick? And what now?" asked parent Dee Martinez, whose fourth-grade daughter got sick in the outbreak.

And some parents are still wary of sending their kids back.

"I didn't send him back Monday because I was still nervous," said mother Jill Pake, whose son returned to school Wednesday. "I've just been packing his lunch and I don't want him to really eat at the school."

On Monday, 276 students called out sick and 22 were sent home. On Tuesday, 112 called out sick and four were sent home.

Many parents said the illness was like a typical stomach virus, but on a much larger scale.

"It hit so many kids at one time, there's got to be an explanation," Martinez said.

The Benchmark Assessment Test for third and fifth grade students has been rescheduled for Monday, Sept. 30, school officials said.

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