PALISADE, Colo. (CBS4) – Officials hope to reopen a high school in western Colorado Monday after 300 students came down with an illness. Nearly a third of the students and a quarter of the staff at Palisade High School reported feeling sick Thursday, prompting the school to close early.

Palisade High School closed early Thursday after hundreds of students and staff reported feeling ill.

Palisade High School closed early Thursday after hundreds of students and staff reported feeling ill. (credit: CBS)

“I was there at 8:30 a.m. and by nine o’clock we already had three staff members have to leave because they were vomiting,” said Nursing Coordinator Tanya Marvin.

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It’s still unclear what is making the students and staff sick, but health officials suspect it may be norovirus, which is transmitted through the air.

Health officials believe the illness may be norovirus, which is spread through the air. (credit: CBS)

“It doesn’t occur very often it’s never happened in a high school level for us before,” Marvin told CBS4.

Students first started reporting symptoms Wednesday, including vomiting, fever and diarrhea.

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“Lots of vomiting kids. We encourage the people that were having to care for the students to wear masks,” said Marvin.

On the district’s website, officials wrote, “Student and staff health and safety is always a priority, and we feel that closing the school for cleaning, and to allow students and staff to rest and not continue to spread the illness, is in the best interest of the entire school staff and student population.”

School officials are urging parents to keep sick students home for at least 24 hours after the last sign of symptoms.

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