Orchard Park closes middle school on Friday after over 200 illnesses

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — All activities and classes at Orchard Park Middle School will be cancelled on Friday due to a rapid spread of illnesses in the school.

Officials say they decided to cancel classes when 200 students fell ill, reporting flu-like symptoms. Erie County Health Department Officials said in addition to 200 ill students, 12 teachers became sick.

Gale Burstein, the Commissioner of the Erie County Department of Health says, “It seems like they had some outbreak of a gastrointestinal virus, what we typically see this time of year is norovirus. It can cause diarrhea, vomiting, belly pain, lots of gas, some people might have a mild fever.”

Burstein says the virus is very common, but highly contagious. She says symptoms typically go away after 3-4 days.

The school physician recommended closing the school Friday to help allow the school to recover and help stop the spread of illness. The closure will also cancel all athletic events through Sunday.

Staff members will work to disinfect the entire school — including the bus fleet — before school resumes on Monday, May 2.

Illnesses have not spiked at any other school buildings.

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