Kalamazoo Public Schools are closed today after approximately 1,900 students were absent or sent home Thursday due to stomach illnesses or flu-like symptoms.
KPS announced yesterday that the decision was made after a discussion with Kalamazoo Health and Community Services. The district hopes that a three-day weekend will give kids time to get better, and a chance for buildings to be disinfected.
Other schools in Kalamazoo County have also been affected. Comstock Public Schools were closed yesterday due to a high number of students and staff with illnesses similar to norovirus. That school system was already scheduled to be closed today for midwinter break.
Young children are especially susceptible to gastrointestinal illnesses, such as norovirus. The Centers for Disease Control notes that schools are common outbreak settings for norovirus, due to the speed at which the virus can spread within a population.
The Kalamazoo Health Department has warned of an uptick in gastrointestinal illnesses region-wide. People are advised to be diligent about hand washing and to stay home for at least 24 hours if they have any symptoms.