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275 students absent from Halifax-area school a day after ‘dozens’ sent home due to illness

Hammonds Plains Consolidated School is pictured on Thursday, June 8, 2017. .
Hammonds Plains Consolidated School is pictured on Thursday, June 8, 2017. . Steve Silva/Global News

Over 40 per cent of students were absent from a Halifax-area school on Friday, the day after many students were sent home due to developing a gastrointestinal illness.

According to a spokesperson for the Halifax Regional School Board, 275 students out of the 655 were absent from Hammonds Plains Consolidated School.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia school cancels BBQ after ‘dozens’ of students develop gastrointestinal illness

“Can’t say for certain the reason for all the absences,” wrote Doug Hadley in an e-mail to Global News. “We know many students are ill but I can’t put a number on it.”

Social media posts confirm that some parents kept their children home due to widespread illness that had forced the school to postpone a family BBQ planned for Thursday.

According to Hadley, the school board is bringing in extra custodial staff this weekend in order to give the school a complete cleaning. That will include disinfecting all areas that could’ve been touched by students and staff members.

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“All indications at this point seem to be is that (the illness) is consistent with a norovirus outbreak,” said Dr. Trevor Arneson, Medical Officer of Health for Halifax.

Arneson says that no one has had to be hospitalized because of the illness but officials haven’t been able to find the source of the outbreak.

READ MORE: Cruise ship carrying people sick with suspected norovirus arrives in Halifax

Students have reported symptoms including fever, diarrhea, loose or watery stool, vomiting, stomach cramps, and upset stomach.

Nova Scotia Public Health and Nova Scotia Environment are still investigating.

HRSB says that 50-60 students were absent from Hammonds Plains Consolidated School on Monday. No word on how many are sick.