A sickness bug has struck down more than 80 pupils at a Moray school, forcing it to shut for the rest of the week.
Hythehill Primary in Lossiemouth is to undergo a deep clean before it reopens on Monday.
A total of 83 youngsters called in sick yesterday after being hit by norovirus – more than a quarter of the 300-strong school roll.
Moray Council decided to close the school until Monday to allow for a deep clean of every part of the building.
In a statement, a spokesman said: “In discussion with NHS Grampian health protection team, health and safety, and environmental Services, and following the increased absence in the school (now 23%) the council will close the school on Thursday and Friday to allow for the deep clean to be undertaken.
“Nursery sessions and after-school lets are also cancelled as a preventative measure. Following the deep-clean, further enhanced cleaning will follow next week.
“Parents have kept approximately 10% of the school roll at home today as a preventative measure, due to concerns that this is norovirus/gastrointestinal illness which appears to be increasing quite rapidly.”
He added 42 children had been absent or sent home on Tuesday, with the number rising to 83 yesterday.
Norovirus – also known as the winter vomiting bug – is highly contagious, and usually lasts for up to three days.
Symptoms include suddenly feeling sick, projectile vomiting and watery diarrhoea.
Parents and carers were urged yesterday to keep their child off school for at least 48 hours after the symptoms have gone, and to disinfect any surfaces, clothes or bedding they were in contact with.
Moray MP Douglas Ross said: “Clearly the safety of pupils and staff is important, and although it is always a difficult decision to have to close a school, I think what is paramount here is to make sure all steps are taken to prevent anyone else from becoming ill.
“It is unfortunate that pupils will not be able to go to school for a few days, but it is absolutely necessary for the council to make sure the school is safe.”
Last week the nearby Burghead Primary had to be shut for two days to allow for a deep clean following the outbreak of a similar vomiting bug which affected one third of its pupils.