Norovirus outbreak raises questions for Humber

After over 200 students at Humber College’s North Campus became ill with vomiting and abdominal pain last week, Toronto Public Health has confirmed the outbreak was caused by the norovirus.

“Toronto Public Health (TPH) has received laboratory results that confirm norovirus was the cause of student illness at Humber College’s North Campus,” said the college in a mass e-mail to students. “Additional laboratory testing is underway from other ill students that will help provide further evidence of norovirus being the cause of this outbreak.” 

Although cases of norovirus can pass within a few days, the virus can still be caught by touching contaminated surfaces or having contact with someone who is infected with the virus.

Students and staff are advised not to return to campus until they have been symptom-free for 48 hours. However, some students were vocal on Twitter about the school not being shut down.


@humbercollege @TOPublicHealth wow it’s a good thing you guys didn’t let people into school…. oh wait
@nicksnowxo @TOPublicHealth We’ve been following guidelines consistent with norovirus, and were given no indications that we should close.”


@TysonLaut23 We are taking the advice and recommendations of Toronto Public Health. They have not recommended we close.”
@humbercollege I get that, but if it’s not safe enough for me to serve myself my own coffee, why is it safe enough to stay open?”

Although her classes are at the Lakeshore Campus, Humber student Kayla Mayhew says she is concerned about the lack of preventative actions being taken.

“They are doing nothing here, they don’t even have hand sanitizer anywhere,” she says. “They should be taking steps here at Lakeshore to prevent it from getting to us.”

Vanessa Lancione, in the Law Clerk program at the North Campus, has bought wipes and hand sanitizer and hasn’t been attending classes in fear of catching the virus.

The college also made headlines this week when a student posted a video on Facebook that has now gone viral, of a cockroach allegedly crawling out of food at Humber’s cafeteria.

After seeing the video Lancicone said, “I think it’s so gross, because once you see one, you know there’s an infestation.”

In the emails sent out to staff and students, Humber says it has disposed of all self-serve and open food, and has inspected campus food establishments. The school is also said to be investigating the Facebook video.


@HumberCollege School admin must address this!? WATCH: Student claims to have seen cockroach at Humber food court”
@BBritnei Toronto Public Health is aware of this and we are investigating.”

Mohawk College’s director of communications, Jay Robb, says the college is not concerned about the Humber outbreak and would have taken the same steps as Humber has.

For updates on the condition at Humber visit http://www.humber.ca/today/news/important-community-update-regarding-health-issues-north-campus


“A big thank you to all the Humber staff and students who worked tirelessly over the last few days to support students”

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About the author  ⁄ Madison Fitzpatrick

Madison is a third-year journalism student who strives to make a difference. She has traveled to Egypt, Ecuador, and Japan, and will continue to make connections around the world. Madison will be an intern at Global News in March 2017.

To reach Madison, please contact her at madison-fitzpatrick@outlook.com. Also, follow her on twitter @_madisonfitz.

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