Texas Elementary and Middle Schools Close for ‘Disinfection’ After Student Flew on Plane With Ebola Passenger

Three schools in the Belton School District in Texas have closed after discovering that students had been exposed to the second Ebola victim on the same Frontier airlines flight. Statements originally were sent to parents about the exposure yesterday, but eventually they elected to close down the schools after the CDC “re-evaluated” the health risk to other passengers.

Here’s one of the statements from the district’s website for Sparta Elementary School:

spart elem dcd

I really hope one of the moms said, “this is madness!” and her elementary kid replied, “madness?! THIS. IS. SPARTAAA!!”

Anyway, the school’s principal expressed “frustration” that the CDC changed their tune, and put out this statement saying the schools would be closed, cleaned, and “disinfected” [emphasis added]:

Dear Parents,

Three Belton ISD schools will be closed on Thursday, October 16, 2014.

The campuses that will be closed are North Belton Middle School, Sparta Elementary and the Belton Early Childhood School.

Late tonight, I learned that officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are re-evaluating the health risk to some passengers on Frontier Airlines Flight #1143 from Cleveland to Dallas. At this time, we do not know if this will include either of the two Belton ISD students who traveled on the flight.

The two students attend North Belton Middle School and Sparta Elementary. Some pre-kindergarten students at the Belton Early Childhood School transfer through Sparta Elementary at the beginning and end of the school day.

Canceling classes at the three campuses will allow us to thoroughly clean and disinfect the schools and buses that served them this week. It will also allow health officials additional time to re-assess the health risk to passengers on the plane.

I’m frustrated that we didn’t learn until late tonight that the CDC was re-evaluating the health risk. The health and safety of our students is my first priority.

It really does seem like these kids are at minimal risk, but I don’t blame the parents for being alarmed. Even if the nurse was contagious, which it doesn’t appear she was, it would be really tough to think she’d be able to infect an entire plane. But because of the extreme nature of Ebola, the schools have to take extra precautions.

So I wouldn’t worry too much.

Unless Ebola has mutated, and it’s more contagious than we thought.

Also, here are the new decontamination guidelines from the CDC:

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