Hampden-Sydney now closed through Wed. due to norovirus

Hampden-Sydney now closed through Wed. due to norovirus

FARMVILLE, VA (WWBT) - As the campus continues to recover from a widespread gastrointestinal illness outbreak, Hampden-Sydney College announced Sunday that it will remain closed through Wednesday, Feb. 4.

reads, "The Virginia Department of Health has determined that the illness on campus is norovirus. Norovirus spreads quickly person to person and causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and a low grade fever. The virus is contracted by contact with infected persons or contaminated surfaces and items. The virus can remain vital for as long as two weeks.

  • Classes are suspended until Wednesday, February 4.
  • Athletic practices and competitions, extracurricular activities, and fraternity social events are suspended until Wednesday, February 4.
  • Administrative departments will resume normal hours on Tuesday, February 3."

It may have taken three days, but sophomore Tre Briggs just got over the norovirus. He is one of more than 300 students who fell ill after the outbreak on campus last week.

"I just knew something was wrong and then that night I went to sleep and I was just vomiting all night," Briggs said.

Doctors say prolonging the start of classes until Wednesday is best, so that school officials can make sure that surfaces on campus are thoroughly cleaned.

"The virus can live for a short period of time on surfaces, so if I were to vomit and not clean it real well then somebody else touch that area and forgot to watch their hands before they ate then they could get the norovirus," Dr. Elizabeth Jenkins said.

That's why staff are working around the clock to disinfect student housing, common areas and public bathrooms with bleach and other cleaning agents over the weekend and early in the week.

Briggs has this advice for others who may find themselves under the weather. "I drink a lot of water and Gatorade," he said.

The college advised students who have gone home while campus has been closed to remain there. When students return to campus, they should follow these guidelines:

  • Norovirus is spread by contact with infected individuals and contaminated items or surfaces. It is not airborne; you cannot contract the virus by sitting next to someone in class.
  • Frequent hand-washing is very important. Liquid hand sanitizers are not sufficient; wash with soap and hot water.
  • Bring clean sheets and towels from home and wash used sheets and towels and dirty clothes in hot water with detergent and dry on the highest dryer setting. If you cannot wash these items immediately, put them in a plastic bag. You should wear disposable gloves when handling these items before washing.
  • Buy a new toothbrush and bathroom cup, or sanitize your bathroom cup with a bleach solution. This includes water bottles.
  • Thoroughly wash all utensils, plates, cups you have in your room in hot water and dish washing liquid and add a little bleach to the rinse water.
  • Surfaces in your room should be sanitized with a bleach solution, 1/3rd cup of bleach to a gallon of water for hard surfaces. Pre-mixed disinfectants are not sufficient. A surface must be clean before it can be disinfected.
  • Do not share cups or utensils with anyone.

The college said it would provide an update mid-day Tuesday about when classes would resume.

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