East Meadow Superintendent Louis DeAngelo discussed parents’ concerns over the school district’s reaction to the stomach virus that affected students at in the beginning of March at Thursday evening’s Board of Education meeting.
After briefly discussing how the district cleaned the school following the virus at a , DeAngelo addressed parent concerns over notification of the illness and how the district handled the situation during the meeting at the .
The Nassau County Department of Health previously confirmed that they were investigating a stomach virus at 9. A report from Newsday quoted Commissioner of Health Lawrence Eisenstein estimating that "over 175 staff and students appear involved."
A parent, who questioned why the district as a whole was not notified, prompted DeAngelo’s statement about the virus. The parent explained that other parents felt “out of the loop.”
’ parents did receive a ConnectEd notification about the virus, DeAngelo said. He added that if they had notified the other eight buildings in the district about the virus they “would have had chaos.”
“We worked very carefully to make sure that we were putting information out in a timely manner and it is a very fine line that you walk relative to alerting parents and alarming parents,” he continued.
DeAngelo said that he would handle the situation “pretty similarly” if it were to ever happen again.
“Unfortunately, when situations like this develop we all get very concerned. It is my responsibility as Superintendent to work with the building principal and make sure that we are acting in the best interest of everyone in the district -- all children,” he said, adding that they worked closely with the school physician and the Department of Health to “make decisions that are appropriate.”
“I just ask you to understand that we handled it exactly the way we were instructed to handle it by the medical doctor and exactly the way we were instructed to handle it by the Department of Health,” he continued. “At no time were we told to close a school. At no time were we told to contact parents on Thursday. The only direction we ever got from a medical inspector or from the Board of Health was to proceed cautiously and speak with us at every turn.”
He said that they were able to identify a number of students who were absent on that Thursday, but they weren’t aware why they were absent until Friday morning. Absentee levels were up on Thursday and Friday, but were “back to normal” throughout the entire district that following Monday, DeAngelo said.
“The number of students you mentioned, as I said, is greatly exaggerated,” he said in regards to a figure of approximately 400 ill children that a parent had previously stated.
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