2007_10_staph.jpgAs more cases of staph infections are being reported (a Newark public school security guard has MRSA, leading the school to be disinfected), parents are growing increasingly concerned about how schools are responding to the epidemic. Yesterday, school officials held a meeting at IS 211 in Brooklyn, the school Omar Rivera Jr. attended before dying from MRSA two weeks ago, to explain how it is dealing with the potentially deadly disease.

The Post reports the school was cleaned with "used bleach and a product called Spray 9 - which purports to kill 'superbug' MRSA in 45 seconds" - on "floors, ceilings, walls, desks and doorknobs on Wednesday." Additionally, the DOE handed out Zicam (?) and emphasized procedures to ensure that students would remain healthy - like thorough hand washing and keeping cuts covered. Parents had mixed reactions - some were reassured/resigned ("there isn't much [the school] can do") to irritated, because the school did not contact parents immediately after the child's death.

The meeting was closed to the public, causing State Senator John Sampson (who is also Foxy Brown's lawyer) to fume, "We need to know what's happening. I'm getting calls from constituents. This secrecy is a microcosm of the way the entire situation was handled." But he DOE says all meetings are closed to the public at the discretion of parent leaders.

The Health Department, DOE, and Public Advocate issued a public statement on Friday (Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden said, "Staph is both preventable and treatable") with these tips:

  • Students, educators, and others should wash their hands regularly with soap and water.
  • Schools must ensure that sufficient soap and paper towels are available in all bathrooms.
  • Schools should clean “flat surfaces” every day. This includes desktops, cafeteria tables, door knobs, toilet seats, sinks, drinking fountains.
  • Students should not share towels or other similar personal items during sports or other activities. They should also wipe down shared athletic equipment between users.

The State health department is also investigating the facilities that treated Rivera. Rivera's mother has also retained a lawyer.