Christchurch's Medbury School closed over gastro bug outbreak
A "significant number" of staff and students at a Christchurch school have become infected with gastroenteritis.
Medbury School, a private primary school for about 350 boys, will remain closed until Tuesday. Its sports teams have been withdrawn from weekend matches, acting headmaster Kurt O'Connell said.
It is understood the outbreak caused an unusually high volume of absences in recent days.
O'Connell said the number of new cases were decreasing but did not confirm how many had been infected.
Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) medical officer Dr Alistair Humphrey said a "significant number" of students and non-teaching staff were affected.
The specific type of gastro bug was not yet known, but was potentially norovirus.
The school had regularly reported cases to the CDHB and was "very receptive" to the health board's advice, Humphrey said.
"I felt it was important that the school should close to break the chain of infection and they have done that even earlier than I suggested.
"There's always the risk that one boy is going to have brothers and transfer the infection across ... but it's definitive action by the school that will ensure they don't have this grumbling on for a few days, or weeks."
Humphrey said the outbreak had been "particularly stressful" for O'Connell, who became acting headmaster about a week ago.
"I think it's a very difficult time for them [because] it's the time of year when boarding schools in particular are advertising for next year.
"He [O'Connell] has done particularly well, but it hasn't been easy."