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PS 12 in Woodside, Queens, closed after norovirus sickens 100

Students were sickened by a norovirus outbreak at

Students were sickened by a norovirus outbreak at PS 12 in Woodside, Queens, officials said on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016.

An apparent outbreak of the norovirus at PS 12 temporarily closed a Woodside elementary school Thursday after nearly 100 students became ill, officials said.

City health department representatives were on scene at the K-5 school, located at 4200 72nd St., Thursday afternoon as students were dismissed early, according to City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the area. The school will undergo a massive cleaning and is expected to open Friday, according to the Department of Education.

“All the protocols are being followed,” Van Bramer said. “The Department of Health and [DOE] responded quickly and appropriately.”

An earlier report from an official who had information about the outbreak initially said 200 students had been affected but later said it was 100.

Several children reported having symptoms of the stomach flu Wednesday morning, and their numbers grew over the past two days. No school staff had reported contracting the virus.

Students were sent home with letters informing their families. Any student or staffer who was still feeling ill was asked to remain at home and recuperate, according to the letter.

Norovirus is the most common foodborne disease in the U.S. and accounts for 19 million to 21 million cases a year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting and stomach pain and are usually not fatal.

Van Bramer said the education department was planning a virtual town hall with parents this weekend to update them on the situation and educate them on the virus.

“We hope all of the kids feel good as soon possible,” he said.

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