School forced to close after 150 pupils and teachers fall ill

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A school was forced to shut its doors after a huge number of students and staff fell ill with a mystery vomiting bug. The virus spread like wildfire at the Dene Magna secondary school in Gloucestershire, affecting 150 people, which is around a fifth of the total number of pupils.

So many pupils, teachers and support staff had to go home because they were ill, that head teacher Stephen Brady decided he would have to close the school completely. So far, it has not been confirmed what the illness is, although it is likely to be the winter vomiting bug norovirus.

The school has now brought in a specialist cleaning company to embark on a thorough clean of the whole building before the school opens up again on Monday. Mr Brady said that the situation had become worse and worse, so it was common sense to send everyone home.

Perfect storm

He described it as a “perfect storm” of bugs, saying that pupils had been suffering from feelings of nausea and sweating, while others had diarrhoea and vomiting. The school spoke to officials at the local authority, who advised that a deep clean should be carried out. Pupils who are ill are expected to have recovered within 72 hours.

In a message to parents, the school urged mums and dads to keep their children home over the weekend, so that they did not pass on any germs to friends. He also said pupils should have a “good wash” so they returned clean and healthy on Monday.

The latest closure follows a similar incident at a primary school just eight miles away, which also had to shut when a quarter of its students fell ill. Staff also called in sick so the school, in Coleford, took the decision to close for an afternoon so a thorough clean could take place.

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