Virus hits students as exams begin

A possible norovirus outbreak has hit Lincoln University on the eve of exams.

Ill students are being warned to stay home, as exams begin today.

Fifteen students living in campus halls of residence or flats were ill yesterday and had been isolated in a university accommodation block.

Six hundred students will be on the campus, near Christchurch, today at the start of two weeks of examinations.

Lincoln vice-chancellor Professor Roger Field said last night the university had requested that ill students or staff stay home.

Any student who could not sit an exam would be assessed on course work, he said.

Five of the affected students would sit their exams in an isolated room today.

The university's director of marketing and communications, Charlotte Mayne, said there had been some discussion regarding rescheduling exams if the outbreak worsened.

The university hoped its containment actions including isolating affected students, increased cleaning in halls of residence, and wide notification to students and staff would prevent the outbreak spreading.

Mayne said health authorities had heard from local GPs of up to 30 cases of a similar strain of gastroenteritis.

The symptoms were consistent with norovirus, but test results would not be available until next week.

The Press