Belfast Telegraph

Portstewart Primary School to stay closed due to virus outbreak

Portstewart Primary School in County Londonderry was closed to facilitate a deep clean. Credit: Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia
Portstewart Primary School in County Londonderry was closed to facilitate a deep clean. Credit: Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

A Co Londonderry primary school is to remain closed for a second day following a virus outbreak.

Portstewart Primary School had to shut its doors on Monday after around 60 pupils and staff fell ill with vomiting and diarrhoea.

The Education Authority said gastroenteritis was to blame for the outbreak and the school would have to close while a deep clean is carried out.

In a letter sent to parents and guardians on Monday, a Portstewart Primary School said they are dealing with an increase in the number of pupils affected and the school would not reopen until Wednesday.

"We are working with the Public Health Agency to minimise the risk of spread of the infection within the school," they said.

"If your child is unwell we request that you do not send your child to school until they have been symptom free for 48 hours. However, please ensure that you contact us and inform us so that we can monitor the situation.

"If you take your child to see a GP and they request a faecal (stool) sample please show them this letter and ask that they put the following on the form: ‘Norovirus and bacterial pathogen screen - Portstewart Primary School & Nursery Unit’. Please inform the PHA directly on 0300 555 0119 if a sample has been sent from your child.

"With this letter we are also enclosing a Fact Sheet on gastroenteritis and guide to hand washing that you may find useful. If you are concerned about your child’s health please seek medical advice.

"If you have any general questions please feel free to call the school office."

The school, which is on Central Avenue in Portstewart, has more than 200 pupils.

Gastroenteritis is highly contagious and can be spread through contact with an infected person or contaminated food and drink.

In a statement, an Education Authority spokesperson said they are monitoring the situation.

"EA is working closely with Portstewart Primary School, the Public Health Agency (PHA) and other statutory agencies following reports relating to a number of cases of gastroenteritis among pupils, staff and family members of pupils at the school," they said.

"We would advise parents that if their child is unwell on Tuesday or subsequent days they should not come in to school."

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