Sickness continues to plague Marion County elementary school

Hundreds of students absent from East Marion Elementary for 4th school day in row

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MARION COUNTY, Fla. - The number of students out sick at a Marion County elementary school is improving on Wednesday, four school days after the gastrointestinal illness outbreak was reported.

School district spokesman Kevin Christian said 207 students are absent from East Marion Elementary on Wednesday, down from 223 reported absences on Tuesday. Eight students were sent home early, slightly less than Tuesday's 9 students and five staff workers are still absent.

School officials said nearly 300 students were absent from East Marion Elementary on Friday, likely because of a norovirus outbreak.

The health department hasn't officially identified the type of virus, as school officials await test results

Cafeteria workers did not report for duty again on Wednesday, as food is still not being prepared on campus.

Christian said they are still asking parents to keep children home until they're symptom-free for at least 24 hours.

Wednesday night's plan includes wiping down all surfaces inside the school and its 10 buses, thorough cleaning with specialized disinfectant, and continued emphasis during the day on hand washing and healthy hygiene habits, Christian said. These same steps will be taken Thursday and Friday as well.

The school's principal is hoping for attendance to get even better by the end of the week. 223 students were absent from East Marion Elementary on Tuesday, slightly higher than Monday's 195 students.

Watch Local 6 for more on this story.

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