Possible norovirus shutters Shady Creek Outdoor School and Event Center | TheUnion.com

Possible norovirus shutters Shady Creek Outdoor School and Event Center

Shady Creek Outdoor School and Event Center has closed for over two weeks after a suspected norovirus outbreak sickened more than 50 people, officials said.

The Pathfinder Way school in Nevada City closed Wednesday morning after 52 students, the camp nurse and two teachers showed symptoms of gastroenteritis the day before. It's unknown if anyone was hospitalized. Some parents have said they took their children to a family doctor, officials said.

Gastroenteritis can cause diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, fever and headaches.

"From the information we currently have, it seems that the illness might be caused by norovirus," states a letter sent to parents. "While norovirus illness can be serious, fortunately most people infected with norovirus usually recover quickly with rest and hydration."

The school has closed four times since 2016 because of illness, said Angela Huerta, communications director for Sutter County Superintendent of Schools, in an email.

Workers will spend the next two weeks cleaning the facility before it reopens in April. Nevada County officials are investigating.

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"To date we've done on site visits as well as telephone consultations," said Jill Blake, director of Nevada County's Health Department. "Consultations have addressed various things including enhanced hand hygiene and cleaning and disinfection recommendations, exclusion of sick persons, and food safety advice."

Huerta said the facility was professionally cleaned before students arrived Monday. The Nevada County Health Department on that day was on site and approved the school to serve students.

The notice sent to parents states Nevada County is creating a voluntary electronic survey for parents, guardians and staff. It'll ask about symptoms, water and food consumption, and other activities. Officials expect to send the survey in the near future.

The school is owned and operated by the Sutter County Superintendent of Schools. It offers residential and day programs for first- through sixth-grade students. Open from mid-September to the end of May, the school averages about 175 students each week.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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