LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — An Alexandria school will be closed Friday after hundreds of students and dozens of staff members fell ill due to a possible norovirus outbreak. reports of a likely outbreak of a stomach virus that left hundreds of students and staff members sick.

Officials at John Adams Elementary School announced Thursday that students and staff had developed symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea over the past two days. Nearly 50 students who were battling stomach ailments were sent home Thursday.

School officials sent a letter to parents of John Adams students informing them of that a small group of students had fallen ill.

Norovirus, a highly contagious illness that can be contracted from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The school will be closed March 14 for disinfecting and cleaning, which will continue into the weekend, to prevent further spreading of the illness.

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