A VILLAGE school was forced into an “emergency closure” following an outbreak of the winter vomiting bug.

De Vere Primary School, in Kirby Hall Road, Castle Hedingham, was forced to shut on Monday after several staff and pupils came down with norovirus.

The outbreak meant staff and governors unaffected by the virus had to undertake a thorough clean of the school before it could reopen again on Tuesday.

Headteacher Shelly Jones said: “Last Sunday, I was made aware of a large number of children and staff who were affected by diarrhoea and vomiting.

“I contacted the Public Health team to get advice. They recommended a thorough clean of every hard surface with a chlorine releasing product was required and to remind children of the correct hand washing routine with soap and warm water. It was not possible to undertake the required level of cleaning with children on site with teaching and learning in progress. I contacted my Governors for their guidance.

“We were in agreement that an emergency closure and ‘all hands on deck’ with the cleaning was the most reasonable response.

Ms Jones added: “Public Health are not concerned with the hygiene practices within the school and felt the children had fallen ill through a fairly typical sudden onset viral infection.”

They were due to check with the school yesterday that attendance had returned to normal. There were concerns the nearby Castle Nursery would also be forced to close following the outbreak. Bosses asked those suffering with symptoms not to attend the nursery but informed the Gazette that the service ran as normal throughout the week.

The Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group says anyone suffering with norovirus symptoms should stay at home for at least 48 hours.

Chairman Dr Anna Davey added: “It’s better not to see your GP unless you or your child doesn’t stop vomiting after two days or shows signs of dehydration.

“In the meantime, anyone with the bug should stay at home, get some rest and keep drinking water. Babies should carry on feeding and also have small sips of water between feeds. It’s worth everyone in the household washing hands with soap regularly and keeping bedding and surfaces washed too.”

More advice is available on the Mid Essex Childhood Illness app.