Clarkstown School District Health Coordinator Susan Sherlock said most of conversation at Thursday morning’s Parents’ Tea at Strawtown Elementary School dealt with a student's recent MRSA infection. The parents of a student at the school notified the district last Thursday that their child had an MRSA infection. The district responded by disinfecting common areas of the school and the student’s classroom on Thursday and followed that with a “top to bottom” cleaning of the entire school over the weekend.
Sherlock said the approximately 40 parents at the program said they wanted to know more.
“They wanted better communication from us,” said Sherlock, who attended the approximately hour-long meeting with Superintendent Dr. J. Thomas Morton and Building & Grounds Central Administrator Anthony Valenti.
She said parents appeared satisfied that district took the appropriate steps by its disinfection of the building. But they wanted additional information and follow-up communication to the email sent out last Thursday.
“There were some concerns that some people felt they didn’t get the email,” explained Sherlock.
Sherlock said the district emailed a second letter this morning and expected Principal Deidra O’Connor to send out a letter and MRSA fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention today by email and probably as printed copies.
Dr. Morton said the district followed the recommendations of the New York State Health Department, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Rockland BOCES Health & Safety Department for dealing with MRSA when it disinfected the building.
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.”
Sherlock reiterated the superintendent’s statement that the district felt it was an isolated case and that the infection was not acquired in the Strawtown building. She said the district’s health staff would be vigilant and check any suspicious rashes and report them to the child’s family and recommend they take the child to their pediatrician.
“The safety of the children is the bottom line for us,” Sherlock said.
This is a copy of the letter sent to Strawtown parents on Thursday, Oct. 18.
I wanted to follow-up with you regarding my letter dated October 11,2012. As stated in that letter, a Strawtown Elementary student was diagnosed with a skin infection known as MRSA. This infection was isolated to only that one student and most likely was neither acquired in Strawtown, or did the student contaminate any surfaces in the school building.
As a precaution, surfaces with which the student was known to have had contact were cleaned and sanitized as per New York State Department of Health guidelines. In addition, any surfaces with which the student “might” have come in contact were cleaned and sanitized as well. Our cleaning and sanitizing procedures were reviewed with Rockland BOCES, our health and safety authority and the Rockland County Department of Health.
I feel confident that we have addressed this problem in the appropriate manner. However I still advise you to observe your children for any signs of a skin infection and seek the advice of your health care provider as needed.
Please remind your children to wash their hands with soap and water when indicated, especially before eating, after using the bathroom and when they are dirty. Hand hygiene is the single most important factor in preventing the spread of all infections.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Susan J. Sherlock
Coordinator of Health Services
Clarkstown Central School District