Albany parents cautious as students return after outbreak

District officials said workers spent the week cleaning schools and school buses with a hospital-grade sanitation chemical to ensure the virus was wiped out.

Posted: Dec 2, 2019 5:53 PM
Updated: Dec 2, 2019 6:06 PM

ALBANY, Ore. -- Greater Albany Public Schools' students returned on Monday after a norovirus epidemic shut down all of the district’s schools last week.

District officials said workers spent the week cleaning schools and school buses with a hospital-grade sanitation chemical to ensure the virus was wiped out.

Despite all of the cleaning, some parents are still a little nervous to send their kids back to school.

RELATED: ALBANY SCHOOLS REOPEN AFTER NOROVIRUS OUTBREAK

Ashley Boswell has a daughter in kindergarten at Periwinkle Elementary, and she’s happy the school district acted fast.

“I’m glad its so clean,” Boswell said. “I heard it smells like a hospital in there.”

However, even though schools are back, Boswell said the norovirus has had a signifcant impact on the Albany community.

"You go just anywhere in public really, and it's what people are talking about. Everybody is nervous about it," Boswell said. "Everybody knows about it, and everybody is taking precautions."

MORE: NOROVIRUS MAY HAVE KILLED ALBANY TODDLER, FAMILY SAYS

Overall, the district said its absentee rates are still above average but are down from the height of the outbreak.

As of Monday, Periwinkle Elementary School, the hardest hit campus in the district, had 8.5% of its students out with an illness. This is a dramatic decrease from Nov. 22 when the school had 25% of its students out sick.

District spokesman Andrew Tomsky said this was the first time the district shut down because of a virus.

"It's a tough situation to deal with, but our staff has done a great job," Tomsky said. "Our custodial staff, our facilities people, have really done a phenomenal job cleaning to make sure they were available to be able to open again."

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