Parents of some Texas schoolchildren got an alarming letter today.
It seems that two students who attend Belton Independent School District were on the same flight from Cleveland to Dallas on which the most recently diagnosed Ebola victim flew. Amber Vinson, a nurse who had cared for America’s first Ebola victim, Robert Duncan, was running a fever and was hospitalized shortly after she disembarked from the plane.
Your child’s health and safety is our top priority at North Belton Middle School. When issues of concern are brought to our attention, we want to share that information with you.
This afternoon we were made aware that one of our students traveled on Frontier Airlines Flight #1143 from Cleveland to Dallas on Monday and attended classes on Tuesday and Wednesday. Another passenger on that flight has since been diagnosed with the Ebola virus.
It is important to know that individuals are not contagious until symptoms appear.
According to statements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Frontier Airlines, the passenger did not show any symptoms during the flight, and the risk of exposure for other passengers on the flight was low.
The student who traveled on the flight is not currently showing any symptoms and is being monitored by the Bell County Health Department and the Texas Department of State Health Services. Because of this, there is no imminent risk to your child.
Please know that Belton ISD is in regular communication with the family and officials from the state and local health departments. We will provide more information as it becomes available.
For more information about the Ebola virus, please visit this link from the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/ebola-factsheet.pdf.”
The district has said that students who were on the flight will stay home from school for the next 21 days.
Bell County Health Department Epidemiologist Lacey Sanders told reporters that the two students won’t be quarantined or isolated because they did not have contact with the nurse and because the nurse was not symptomatic at the time.
They can continue to attend school, she said.
She said the students will be monitored to ensure “we don’t miss anything for everyone’s safety involved.”
Their temperatures will be taken twice a day and the two students and their parents, who were also on the flight, will be tracked for 21 days.
“We fell that’s the best step to take for the safety and overall concern of the public,” she said.
“They’re low risk,” she said.
She said the surveillance isn’t required, but said she’s “erring on the side of caution.” (source)
School officials predicted that some parents will find this a bit too close for comfort.
The district reiterated that it is safe for students to attend school.
“We anticipate that some parents will choose to keep their children at home,” she said.
No decision has been made on whether the absences of students who are kept home will be counted as excused or unexcused. (source)
Don’t worry. The CDC has everything under control.
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