Ohio and Texas schools close due to possible contact with Ebola patient


By USA Today

Several schools in Ohio and Texas canceled classes Thursday over concerns that staff members and some students might have come in contact with an Ebola-infected person.

An email sent to parents by the Solon City School District said they closed Solon Middle School and Parkside Elementary School in Ohio Thursday after they learned a middle school staff member may have traveled aboard the same airplane, though not the same flight, as Dallas nurse Amber Joy Vinson.

Vinson, 26, one of two nurses who contracted Ebola after caring for Dallas Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan, had returned to the Cleveland area to plan her wedding.

In the email, the district explains they learned about the situation late Wednesday. Since then, they have been working with public health officials. The closing of both schools is a willing precaution to allow both buildings to be disinfected.

On Thursday morning, officials at the Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, Ohio, informed parents that a student may have had contact with Vinson and was being kept home from school as a precaution. School leaders said Vinson is believed to have visited the student’s home while she was town.

Three Central Texas schools were closed Thursday over health concerns surrounding two students who traveled on a Monday flight with Vinson.

Belton Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon said in a statement sent to parents Wednesday that the district did not know if health risks to passengers aboard the Frontier Airlines flight included the students.

The two students will stay home for 21 days, the established incubation period for the disease, and their health will be monitored on a daily basis.

In North Texas, the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District said late Wednesday a family member of a Lake Pointe Elementary School student was also aboard the same flight as Vinson and the family would be quarantined for 21 days.

Late Wednesday, a Cleveland-area high school was thoroughly cleaned and a teacher of freshmen was ordered to stay at home after it was learned the teacher may have come in contact with an Ebola-infected person. It was not clear whether the person was Vinson.

According to a Cleveland Metropolitan School District press release, parents of students at John F. Kennedy High School in Cranwood were notified about the precautions and the school was cleaned with a bleach-based cleaning solution based on CDC guidelines.

The district said no students or staff were at risk, but the precautions were taken to quell concerns “given the nation’s heightened anxiety about the Ebola virus.”

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