SHADYSIDE - Late on Tuesday evening, Jefferson Avenue Elementary Principal Cynthia Caldwell learned of a confirmed case of bacterial meningitis involving one of her students. Preventative measures were quickly put into action to disinfect all the schools in the district, and Superintendent John Haswell sent out a broadcast and letters to inform parents of what to look for in their children. Haswell moved to assuage fears about the disease.
"In the advent of social media, things can get out of hand very quickly, and it doesn't take long for somebody to post something and you've got a complete panic on your hands. We got our word out as quickly as possible. The thing is, when you hear the word meningitis, that's a scary thing, but we're going to take every safeguard possible," Haswell said at Wednesday's board of education meeting.
In part, the letter that was sent out to parents contained the confirmation of a case of meningitis, and a list of symptoms to look out for and what to do if a child displays them. It also cautioned that meningitis is spread only through close or prolonged contact, stressing that cold and flu viruses are much more contagious.
The child was not in school the past week, and her father confirmed she is getting better.
The board of education voted to allow the president and superintendent to sign a gas and oil lease with Gulfport Oil. An attorney representing the school district's interests weighed in on the matter before the board made its decision. The lease will be for $7, 250 per acre.
In personnel matters, the board approved an additional half-day to be added to the school psychologist's schedule. Currently, she works two days a week, but runs short on time because of the large number of students in the three schools. Also approved was Jim Miller as a part-time assistant athletic director.
The board of education will hold an organizational meeting on Jan. 8 at 6 p.m.
Warner may be reached at mwarner@ timesleaderonline.com.