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How Should School Officials Have Handled the Stomach Virus Outbreak? [POLL]

Reports have surfaced that more than 175 staff and students were affected by the virus.

On Friday, the Nassau County Department of Health (DOH) confirmed they were investigating a stomach virus reported at in East Meadow.

According to Newsday [paid link], in an email Friday to Nassau officials, Commissioner of Health Lawrence Eisenstein estimated that "over 175 staff and students appear involved."

Several parents have spoken to East Meadow Patch and commented on our Facebook page, confirming that over the last week the virus has spread throughout their families. Those families consist of children in multiple schools throughout the East Meadow School District.

Parents of students in Barnum Woods have also said that an email was sent out Friday afternoon from the school confirming the illness.

"It was a voice message basically saying custodians are working hard to clean school, wash hands and wishing the sick kids to feel better," said one parent, who wished to remain anonymous. "... The worst part is a message should've been sent home sooner than 2 p.m. [Friday]. And the district should've taken today as a snow day – seeing as we've used none so far."

Sharon March 12, 2012 at 03:09 PM
It's irresponsible to have a health issue affect a large number of students and not communicate with the families. Any child sent home from school should have gone home with a letter strongly recommending, for the safety of staff and student body, the sick child should remain home until the virus ran it's course. Why was a child sent home from school 3 times in one week without a school official speaking to the parent (as per one parent's post on Facebook). The parent was irresponsible yes, but that doesn't mean the school should be as well. One sick child returning to school over and over again could be the reason dozens of others get sick. Also a blast phone call should have been made warning of the virus being present, what the symptoms were, and suggest parents check with their child's pediatrician if they had concerns. At that point it would be up to the parents but there would be little question that the school did all they could.
paul March 12, 2012 at 03:49 PM
I have read all the comments... Question: If your child gets sick what do you do? Answer: Take them to the doctor. CORRECT Question: You have heard that some children as well as adults have gotten ill at the school possibly by something or someone at the school. Does the answer change? NO Why do you feel you need a personal invitation that says "We at the school district have had an outbreak of such and such" You found out didn't you? YES Did you address it as a parent or legal guardian? Probably. You have to many expectations in life. You found out about the issue regardless of an electronic notification.. Yes or No?? YES The school made the proper notifications as they were required and took the necessary steps involved. It is now up to you the parent or legal guardian to take steps you deem appropriate for the health and wellness of the person who has gotten ill. People get all type of sicknesses from different surroundings. Looking to blame the school district on how you were notified is utterly ridiculous.
Jon L. March 12, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Can't vote in this one, my answer would be: Seek Guidance from Public Health Professionals early in the process and as required by the Education Law.
Allen Levy March 12, 2012 at 05:38 PM
The school should have alerted to community immediately by phone, email, and text message. Also they should have called the local news agencies to have a Special Report. Although this disease is not necessarily life threatening it is something that should not be taken lightly.
Leslie Robbins March 12, 2012 at 06:31 PM
As a parent of a BW student I understand that little children often spread germs and that school is an environment where kids easily pick things up from one another. In the normal course of events I do not expect special notification if an illness is spreading around the school, even though I do get written notification each time a case of strep throat is confirmed in the class. However, this was NOT the normal course of events. If you have HUNDREDS of students becoming ill over the course of one or two days this becomes an exception to the rule and exceptional measures need to be taken. I should not have had to come home from work to have my child tell me that several kids were puking in the classroom and that even the teacher had to go home. Had the district been pro-active from the start of this, and parents were give accurate information, perhaps so many parents would not have opted to keep their well children out of school on Friday. But because there was so much misinformation going around town, without direct word from the district, it was impossible to make an informed decision.
Susan March 13, 2012 at 02:10 AM
I think once the school realized that they had so many children out sick, which seems like that was Thursday, then the parents should have been notified that afternoon/evening. They used to send a letter home if even one kid in your kids class had the chicken pox or even lice so why not for a this virus? Once they knew they were going to be disinfecting the school on Thursday night, parents should have definitely been notified of the virus. One reason this spread so quickly is that parents contiually send their children to school sick because they don't want to be inconvenienced by staying home with them. Well, shame on those parents!! Maybe if they kept their sick kids home, this would not have spread so quickly. One person commented that she got called by the nurse 3 times last week. That child should never have been in school. If your kids are sick, then keep them home! Also, if your child comes home and tells you that several kids got sick in the classroom and even the teacher went home sick, do you really, in all honesty, need a call from the school? Isn't obvious at that point that a virus is going around your child's class? Common sense should dictate your decision whether or not to send your child to school the next day. The school wouldn't tell you to keep a well child home from school.
Brent M. March 13, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Does anyone know how the process works.. ? to clarify.. after 10 kids get sick, the school nurse tells... who? (the principal ) I guess? in turn , does the principal call the district then? or who? then-- does the superintendant call who? the school board.. maybe?? then the school board gets together and decides a course of action?? -- if so how long does this take?? IN OTHER WORDS.. is it all a big game of hurry up and wait to put a statement out?? Does anyone know..
Sharon March 13, 2012 at 11:54 AM
It's not a matter of how parents were notified in as much as being notified in a timely manner. Not just to address the sick child but also to protect others in the household from potential illness. Perhaps elderly grandparents, infants, or even a family member with a suppressed immune system. A virus in the house can be a very dangerous thing for these members of our community. Having a school take proper measures to keep the community they serve informed of a health issue is not an expectation it's a responsibility.

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