By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minneapolis private school is closed for the rest of the week after dozens of students and faculty got sick. The Minnesota Department of Heath suspects the norovirus is to blame. Sixty students at Minnehaha Academy were home sick Wednesday. Some faculty members left school early.

Empty halls and classrooms will be the norm for the rest of the week.

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“It all happened from last night from about 4 or 5 p.m. through this morning it was just boom right now and it’s hockey players, it’s skiiers, it’s faculty,” Principal Jason Wenschlag said.

Twenty-percent of the school got sick. Wenschlag said his team took immediate action in the best interest of student’s health. The school will be closed while it’s sanitized from top to bottom.

“It’s just a lot of people so that’s why we did this,” Wenschlag said.

Based on the symptoms of stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, the Minnesota Department of Health believes the norovirus is to blame.

“This is what we call gastrointestinal illness that’s transmitted by the fecal oral route, so this is a virus that basically comes from poop or it can occasionally come from vomit,” Doug Schultz said.

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Shultz said it’s easy to spread in a school.

“It would be in a restroom, if someone touches a door before washing their hands and someone else touches that door or it could be from handling computers, from handling someone else’s cellphone, even a desk,” Schultz said.

The way to stop the spread: good old fashioned hand-washing with soap and water. And cleaning every possible contaminated surface.

“We just felt you know what we can do this we could send learning home with kids. They can work on it the next couple of days. Let’s come back Monday have a fresh start, hopefully everyone’s healthy,” Wenschlag said.

The high school chose to close to clean as a precaution, it was not required to. Lower and middle schools at Minnehaha Academy are in session.

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The Department of Health reports 10 schools have had norovirus outbreaks this school year. There have been 60 total across the state since October.

Jennifer Mayerle