This is the first time Mesa County Valley District 51 has had to close all schools due to illness, the district said Wednesday.
"We are taking this unusual action as this virus is highly contagious and is rapidly spreading throughout our schools," Nurse Care Tanya Marvin said in a statement.
More than a dozen schools in the state's 14th largest district reported increasing absences "due to illness and multiple incidences of vomiting in public schools," according to Mesa County Health Department
The second, related virus has also affected students in recent weeks, the district said. "The combination of the two has created an unprecedented spread of the disease."
"The onset of symptoms for both types of viruses, including vomiting, is unbelievably fast. The second version also causes fever in some cases," the press release stated. district.
The health department claims to be working to identify the disease, which "acts a lot like a norovirus" and lasts between 1
Norovirus, sometimes called a "stomach bug," can be easily spread by direct contact, consuming contaminated food or water, or touching contaminated surfaces and then placing your hands in your mouth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The closure included all after-school activities, the district said. , and schools will remain closed until after the Thanksgiving break.
Mesa County Valley School District 51 is the largest school district between Salt Lake City, Utah, and Denver, Colorado, the district's website said. It employs more than 22,000 students in 46 schools and programs, employing nearly 3,000 employees.