MONTCLAIR, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The rash of gastrointestinal illness persisted at Montclair High School in New Jersey Thursday, with about 20 percent of enrollment at the school calling in sick.

More than 400 students and 50 staffers at the school were absent Thursday, school officials said.

Custodial crews have been sanitizing and disinfecting the school.

The principal asked parents to keep students with symptoms at home to avoid infecting other students.

Teachers told CBS 2’s Carlin that anywhere from 100 to 150 students also stayed home on Wednesday, most were believed to be suffering from the sudden onset of stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Dozens of students were also sent home after going to the school nurse and reporting symptoms.

As CBS 2’s Dr. Max Gomez explained the illness is viral, not airborne, and is commonly spread via hand contact or contaminated food. It typically goes away on its own within one to four days, but good hygiene is crucial.

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