Pa. districts taking steps in MRSA fight

October 24, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Franklin County school districts continued to provide parents with information about their disinfecting initiatives Tuesday - a day when both Waynesboro and Chambersburg officials confirmed students have been diagnosed with methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Representatives of the Greencastle-Antrim School District announced last Friday that a student there had been diagnosed with the staph infection resistant to common antibiotics. The student has returned to class and is doing fine, officials said Monday.

School officials have encouraged hand-washing and distributed information about the symptoms of MRSA. They have written memos about the disinfecting practices of school facilities like locker rooms and restrooms.

"I think there are some cases in our districts, and they're being treated and are not contagious," Chambersburg Superintendent Joseph Padasak said.


In a letter to parents, Padasak said the district is purchasing hand sanitizers for every classroom.

Waynesboro Superintendent Barry Dallara wrote a letter to parents, encouraging those with children who have tested positive for MRSA to contact a school nurse. The information will be kept confidential, he said.

"Since yesterday, we found out we have two students (infected)," Dallara said Tuesday afternoon.

The Tuscarora School District hasn't had any reported cases, Business Manager Rick Kerr said.

"We're making kids aware, and we're working with our custodians to make sure everything's wiped down," Kerr said.

The district's soaps are hospital-grade disinfectants, Kerr said. A letter is being drafted for parents, he said.

Last week, the Associated Press reported that a 17-year-old student in Bedford County, Va., died after being infected with a form of MRSA.

Berkeley County, W.Va., school officials have confirmed five cases of MRSA.

Preventing the spread

Steps being taken to prevent the spread of MRSA infections in schools:

· Staff and students are being reminded about proper hand-washing techniques.

· Hand sanitizers are being purchased for Chambersburg classrooms.

· Greencastle-Antrim schools were specially cleaned last weekend.

· Anti-bacterial soap dispensers are available in all Waynesboro Area School District buildings.

· Waynesboro restrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities are disinfected daily.

School officials are suggesting that:

· Cuts and scrapes be kept clean and covered.

· Personal items like towels and razors not be shared.

· Exercise equipment be wiped before and after use.

· Contact be avoided with others' bandages.

Source: District letters to parents

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