Friday, March 28, 2008

MRSA symptoms create ill feelings.

A Beverly Elementary School student was playing in the school gym last week when suddenly stricken with symptoms of MRSA, an intense but treatable flu-like virus that has made headlines with outbreaks at other schools.

The Beacon was informed of the incident last week by an anonymous caller.

The Edmonds School District viewed the situation as non-threatening to other students at the school. Staff then acted in accordance with Snohomish County Health District guidelines by opting against issuing a public notice to the community.

As a precaution, however, school staffers did conduct special sanitary measures.

“The only time the health district gets involved is when there’s a threat to the community from one of the reportable diseases,” says Suzanne Pate of the Snohomish Health District. “Apparently that’s not the case here.”

MRSA is not on the list of 7,000 communicable diseases that require reporting to the health district – despite the public anxiety created by similar outbreaks at schools like Holy Rosary in Edmonds in recent months.

Staff at Holy Rosary, a K-8 private Catholic school, opted to cancel classes for a week in response to a MRSA infection late last year. The school spent “thousands of dollars” on sanitary measures in the wake of the incident, a spokesman says.

Gov. Christine Gregoire recently explored the possibility of adding MRSA to the list of communicable diseases reportable to the health district. But since the disease is relatively common – 15 percent of the population is immune to the virus but carries it inside their nasal passages – medical experts advise against elevating it to the list of reportable diseases.

MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) most commonly afflicts student athletes involved in sports like wrestling or other skin-to-skin contact sports.

Public health officials underscore the fact that MRSA is a treatable infection, although not all antibiotics are effective. Common signs of a skin infection include redness, warmth, swelling and tenderness.

If untreated, MRSA infections can progress to a more serious stage, and in extreme cases may even result in death.

Jesse Nance
Edmonds Beacon

I think any parent would prefer to be aware of even a remote risk.

Editorial: Witty title. Care to come to work for the blog?


Anonymous said...

Only in a few buildings does the administration allow knowlege of this to the custodial staff. Imagine the possibilities in Edmonds.

Anonymous said...

Last fall I went to my child’s school and tried to go in the back door, as usual. But the door was locked. So I went around to the front door and went inside. I asked a teacher/ friend why the door was locked. The friend just sort of stammered and said really nothing. About 3 months later the teacher/friend said the door was now always locked because the principal received a death threat –the threat was from a former student in a former district—but they were taking precautions at the principal’s home and at this school too. The only precaution they didn’t take was to inform parents and students!!

Anonymous said...

In answer to the question about locked exterior doors in schools: When I was employed at an elementary school, all exterior doors were locked for safety reasons to protect students from thieves, bomb threats, or terrorists. I believe this practice has been in place since 9/11 or before. By requiring visitors to enter through the main office door, gives employees the opportuinty to know all who enters. Visitors are required to sign in and get a visitors pass. Trust me, this is for the protection of our kids!

Anonymous said...

A death threat and they only lock the doors? Gee, I only pointed out that the victim of bullying was 5 times more likely to harm him/herself than to harm the bully and the district stationed an LPD car in the parking lot for the rest of the year. Is there a proportional scale of severity here?

Anonymous said...

Most of the doors at this school are "exterior" because it's one of the "California concept-outdoor- schools" that we have.

The frightening thing was the "potential threat person" was only described as white, male, about 21 years old. As least with Mr. Reuther, people knew who to look for and, it sounds like, 90% of the staff didn't think you were a threat at all! (Mr. Reither--what percentage would you insert in that last sentence--I'm only guessing at 90% and I don't want to offend you--I'm on your side.)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for asking. The answer may not be what you expect. (Please, watch the spelling of the name; I know that i key is right next to the u, but watch; I'll make 4 spelling mistakes that I don't catch!!)

There were a large number (say 10) of other teachers and staff who left MMS in the spring of '06 after I was pushed out. (My wife left at Christmas break '06.)Most "retired" but some moved to other districts (presumably to get away from the poor leadership) or were fortunate enough to be pregnant. With the new staff in the building, the figure was more like 65-70% who knew me. But then you have to take into account those who had been backers and bullies along with the old principal who, I'm sure, had negative thoughts about me anyway and would believe anything negative that Limon might dish up. That would bring the percentage of teachers who might think that I was harmless to about 45-50%. Or perhaps less because the staff was never informed as to what had actually happened; they were never made fully aware of the events that I witnessed in the office. Without the historical context, it would not surprise me if only 30-35% of the staff were sure that the line of bull that Limon was handing out at that June 2007 meeting was untrue. Within 8 hours of hearing his story, a number of former colleagues called us to find out what the hell was going on. It was only at that point, 15 months after I had witnessed the bullying of the students, that I began to let people know the truth. In my view, Limon had slandered me; I was deeply offended by his actions and I was therefore no longer bound to the "settlement agreement" that bought my silence for 15 months.

People should know that as far back as May '04 Judy Kawabori had gone to Limon to complain of her treatment at MMS, how he had been very solicitous toward her and her complaints, but how the next day, he informed her that he had talked to Ray Houser and he was backing Houser. It was a large part of the reason Judy "retired" that summer. A year later, June '05, it was my turn to go to Limon to complain about the "treatment" (BTW; board policy states that if you are being mistreated by your boss, you are to report it to his boss, in this case Limon; I was just following policy. How did I know that board policy didn't mean squat?) and just as he did with Kawabori, he refused to take my part and turned a blind eye to what was going on. For the second time. By turning the blind eye, he gave permission for the bullying to continue and, indeed, intensify. The next time I was in the building that August (shortly after kidney surgery which had not gone well), I was subjected to three separate incidents of bullying from the office manager.

The general reaction of people hearing the story is "No, I don't believe it!" Or they will get part of the way through the tale and instinctively say, "No!" I respond with, "I'm only part of the way through the story. It gets worse." People really do not want to believe that an administration or administrator could act in such a manner. They actually think that there is no way that people in that position of authority could treat teachers and students the way they did. Belive me, it happened. I have about 250 primary documents to back up my claims. Signing out the 'no trespass' order (and remember it was against both of us; while Limon was tisk-tisking that "we just don't know what to do about the Reuthers," it had already been done) was not even the last straw. Loosing our retirement money in the mail came later. Could you people at Perkins check to see if that money was ever properly sent to First Investors? Thanks.

As a frame of reference, I awoke just this morning because of a nightmare based on our experience at Edmonds. And so it goes.

Anonymous said...

Oak Heights Elementary and Mountlake Terrace High School had outbreaks of their own shortly after Beverly.