What officials are calling a “widespread outbreak” of what’s possibly the norovirus among students and staff has prompted Shepherd of the Hills Christian School in Centennial to close Wednesday.

That’s in accordance with the Tri-County Health Department, the school announced on its Facebook page.

The school says the closure will allow people infected with the virus to recuperate, and also give officials the chance to disinfect the classrooms.

There’s no word on if the school will reopen Thursday.

The Tri-County Health Department says it is launching an investigation into the illnesses reported at the school.

Dr. Bernadette Albanese says a high number of students have reported intestinal illness, and they are working to confirm that it’s the norovirus.

The intestinal illness is also known as the stomach flu and can cause two to three days of vomiting and diarrhea.

Local hospitals are seeing children come to the emergency room with symptoms of the highly contagious virus. The majority of people who get it do not need IV fluids, but children younger than one and the elderly are more at risk of getting complications, explained Dr. Alice Liu with Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

"It's passed very easily from person to person and it can linger on counter tops and table tops and it does require bleach to really kill the virus," she said. "So it's a little bit more well-known because it can be difficult to eradicate the virus."

The virus can be spread up to two weeks after the symptoms are gone.

For those working in the food industry with active symptoms, Liu suggests waiting at least 48 hours before going back to work and to continue good hand washing.

Shepherd of the Hills Christian School is located at 7691 University Blvd.