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Virus infects elementary school children

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SUGARLOAF — There is a massive sick-out in a school district in Luzerne County.

Officials in the Hazleton area said students started to show signs of flu like symptoms on Friday.  School officials blame the Norovirus.  Both parents and administrators are concerned.

A family has seen what the virus can do to their children.  Lyrc, age 2, and her 9-month-old sister Sage were sickened.  Apparently their 6-year-old brother, Legend was infected by the bug while going to school in the Valley Elementary School in Sugarloaf.

His mother Jennifer Seek said her son inadvertently brought it home.

“Saturday morning at 4 a.m., he started to show the symptoms and at 6 a.m. my daughter Lyrc started to show the symptoms and then the baby also at the same time.”

Parent Renee Rusnock has heard about the infection at the Hazleton area school. Rusnock explained she’s keeping her daughter to prevent her from getting sick.

“Hundreds of parents on social media sites saying they’re kid had it. There is high fevers, diarrhea, it’s scary!.” Rusnock said.

Michele Giazick is taking the same approach.

“I have not in my own experience seen this so rapidly go and all these kids became sick on one day,” Giazick said.

School officials said 200 Valley Elementary students, 20 percent of the school, are out because of because of being sick or parents keeping healthy kids home.  School officials say if a child is sick they should stay home to prevent infection of others.

Ellen McBride is head of the Hazleton Area School District nurses.

“I know a lot of parents work and everything but you need to keep them home, especially if they’re complaining about the stomach cramps and everything because by the time they get to school is when it’s going to hit them,” McBride explained.

Hazleton Area School officials said they’re going to be putting information on their website and sending letters home to parents telling them how to deal with the virus outbreak.

For information from the CDC, click here.