Strawtown Elementary Disinfected After MRSA Infection Reported [UPDATE]

Strawtown Elementary School was cleaned last Thursday and thoroughly disinfected over the weekend after one student tested positive for an MRSA infection. School declared safe.


Clarkstown School District Superintendent Dr. J. Thomas Morton confirmed this morning that one case of an MRSA infection had been reported to the district last Thursday. He said parents of a Strawtown Elementary School student notified the district that the child had tested positive for an MRSA infection and was being treated. Dr. Morton said that day the West Nyack school’s hallways, railings and the child’s classrooms were disinfected and all parents received a letter about the situation. 

The superintendent said the steps taken on Thursday, Oct. 11 followed recommendations issued by New York State, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Rockland BOCES Health & Safety Department for dealing with MRSA. Over the weekend, he said the district took the additional precaution of disinfecting the entire school from top to bottom – the cafeteria, gym, sports equipment and classrooms.

According to the CDC, MRSA or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus is a type of staph bacteria. The CDC website states, “In the community, most MRSA infections are skin infections.”  

The CDC notes between 25 percent and 30 percent of the population carries the MRSA bacteria but do not have any signs or symptoms of infection.  The state health department web site explains the average school child does not have an increased risk of a MRSA infection. 

Last Friday, District Health Coordinator Sue Sherlock and Building & Grounds Central Administrator Anthony Valenti met with Strawtown teachers. 

“The teachers were concerned the whole school should be done,” Dr. Morton said. 

The BOCES Health & Safety Department determined all the proper procedures had been followed for cleaning the school and declared the school was safe. 

Strawtown Principal Deidra O’Connor is holding a previously scheduled Parents Tea this morning and Dr. Morton expects the MRSA case will be the major topic discussed. He is attending the tea along with Sherlock and Valenti to address parents’ concerns. 

“The parents notified us immediately of what going on,” he said. “We were informed by the child’s parents that this was picked up outside the school.”

Dr. Morton said the student was tested in the hospital for the infection. He said there was no wound or any oozing and they believe it is an isolated case involving one child.  He declined to release the child’s grade level. 

“There is no mass infection,” he said. “There is no school infection that we know of.”

In addition to the letter that went out last Thursday, a second letter was sent out today explaining what was done and what procedure was followed.  Dr. Morton said a third message is likely after the tea.

Dr. Morton, who said he had previously dealt with a MRSA outbreak in a different district, said he directed Assistant Superintendent John LaNave to develop protocols for the Clarkstown district to follow for possible similar events in the future.  

The CDC states, “The key to preventing MRSA infections is for everyone to practice good hygiene.”

Among the recommendations are washing hands thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand rub and keeping cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed. People should avoid contact with other’s wounds or bandages and avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors. MRSA infections are most commonly found in healthcare settings or athletic team environments.

Robin Traum October 19, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Clarkstown Mom #18 Thanks for sharing these points. I had asked to attend today's meeting but was not permitted. Do you think now you have all the information? Robin
ClarkstownMom #18 October 19, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Strawtown parents received the information that they had been asking for since last Friday, a week late! Principal's Tea was to be a discussion on curriculum not MRSA, but parents being frustrated with no response from Mrs. O'Connor and the CCSD came to discuss the issue face to face with the principal. Most parents didn't even now that Sherlock, Valenti, or that Dr. Morton would be attending the meeting. It was a full room, lots of questions, and yes things were resolved, but the final issue is the lack of communication from the building principal (not only for this, but on many other issues). Too bad you weren't permitted to come, maybe an article needs to written on the parents point of view on how MRSA was dealt with at Strawtown. Always two sides to the story!
Robin Traum October 19, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Clarkstown Mom #18 You are right and it is important for you and other parents to voice their concerns on this. Feel free to contact me directly. Robin
Suzan Harding October 19, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Estimates have put the mortality rate in MRSA patients at somewhere between four and 10%; the numbers of patients suffering from the infection ranks at millions at any one time across the world. The major problem comes when a patient suffers from complications brought about by the bacteria, and this is more commonplace in HA-MRSA patients that in those with CA-MRSA. When the bacteria attacks the organs – and it can be found in any organ in the body – it can cause a number of potentially fatal problems, including: endocarditis, kidney and lung infections, necrotizing faciitis, sepsis, and many more diseases of the organs. This is why it is vital that early diagnosis is made. More about MRSA: http://medicalsymptomssearch.net/mrsa-symptoms-facts-risk-and-prevention/
Jackie Cassagnol, RN, MSN, PMC October 21, 2012 at 02:32 PM
MRSA is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a potentially dangerous type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics and may cause skin and other infections. You can get MRSA through direct contact with an infected person or by sharing personal items, such as towels or razors that have touched infected skin.The key to preventing MRSA infections is for everyone to practice good hygiene. (CDC,2010) http://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/prevent/personal.html


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