Primary school in Lostock Hall has been forced to close after 'severe' norovirus outbreak infects more than 100 children
A primary school in Lostock Hall has been forced to shut after a 'severe' outbreak of norovirus.
The virus, also known as the 'winter vomiting bug', has infected more than 100 children at Our Lady & St Gerard's Catholic Primary School in Lourdes Avenue.
The school will stay closed today and Monday (December 9) to allow a deep clean to take place, but is expected to reopen on Tuesday (December 10).
Lancashire County Council said strict hygiene and cleaning measures were introduced last week to prevent the virus spreading further, but this has not worked.
It said 11 members of staff have also been struck with the virus since Monday (December 2).
A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: "We have a severe outbreak of norovirus. Over 100 children have been off school and this week alone 11 members of staff have been off or shown symptoms.
"Preventative measures were taken last week to implement enhanced cleaning but this did not decrease cases.
"On the advice of the Local Authority Cleaning department a contractor has been sought to spray the school.
"The school will also be deep cleaned on Monday."
In a letter handed out to parents yesterday (December 5), headteacher Jackie McNally said the decision to close the school was taken after consultation with Public Health England.
Mrs McNally said: "As you are aware we have had a large number of cases of vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, headaches, fever and flu like symptoms over the last few weeks.
"The school has been in regular contact with Public Health England and upon their recommendation have issued letters to parents and implemented enhanced cleaning routines.
"Unfortunately we are still having to send home children on a daily basis who are demonstrating symptoms and a number of staff are currently off work due to these symptoms.
"The school has been forced to send staff and children home and says that due to the severity of the outbreak and the increasing number of staff who are too ill to attend, it will be closed for two days.
"Due to the severity of this outbreak and the fact that there is an increasing number of staff who are too ill to attend work the decision has been made to close the school tomorrow."
A specialist cleaning firm has been tasked with carrying out a deep clean of the school during the closure.
Parents are urged not to send their children back to school when it reopens until 48 hours after their symptoms have stopped to avoid reinfection and further closures.
"Failure to adhere to this may cause a re-occurrence of the outbreak and risk the school being closed again for further cleaning."
The school said it will notify parents of the school's reopening via email, twitter and the school website by Monday lunch time.
Norovirus symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea, headaches, high temperatures and aching arms and legs.