Arlington schoolchildren suffering from norovirus en masse

A nasty strain of norovirus is making its way through an Arlington elementary school that kept a large number of students home on Friday.

In a letter sent home by Nottingham Elementary School officials, administrators told parents that the likely cause of the outbreak is norovirus. The highly-contagious stomach illness typically leads to serious nause and vomiting.

It was a confusing day at Nottingham for many students, including 4th grader Raquel Robinson, who along with her classmates were moved from trailers behind the school into a main building. She was one of the students who ended up falling ill.

"Everyone was getting sick," she said. "It got me and all my friends worried, and we cleared out as fast as we (could)."

Arlington County Schools officials will not confirm how many children have been sickened, but a parent says that 80 children were absent from school Thursday. Most of them are 4th and 5th graders who spent their school days in trailers.

School administrators say they're still working to identify the cases and prevent the spread of the virus. Knowing the cause of the illness, though, is at least making parents feel a small bit of relief.

"I was a bit surprised and a little concerned," Nottingham parent Kim Winter said. "There are a lot of small children in one small area."