Saint Jo schools close after student found infected with MRSA UPDATED

By: Emi FitzGerald Email
By: Emi FitzGerald Email

ST. JO, Tex. -- A local school district released its students early today, after an elementary student is diagnosed with the MRSA superbug. Students in the St. Jo school district were sent home at 1 pm Thursday, while an elementary school student remains in the hospital with this dangerous staph infection.

The MRSA is known as a ‘superbug,’ an often drug resistant and unusually dangerous staph infection. That's why administrators in St. Jo say they acted quickly, but some parents say it was not quick enough.

The hallways are quiet where children usually walk and play on the playground. Cleaning supplies are everywhere instead.

"I can't imagine what the parents are going through at all," said Melissa Lyons, a parent who chose to keep her children at home Thursday.

School administrators say health officials told them Wednesday morning an elementary school student was diagnosed with an MRSA staph infection and has been hospitalized since October 29th. They notified the local health department and decided to dismiss students early on Thursday to give custodians extra time to clean.

"We're going to do everything we can to make sure out environment is hygienic and safe," said Larry Smith, superintendent of schools.

Some parents chose not to send their children to school at all Wednesday, concerned about any possibility of the dangerous strain of the infection in the school.

"It's very serious and I was really upset that they didn't close the school down for the entire day or for two days to properly clean," Lyons said.

Administrators say they contacted other districts and felt like they followed a standard procedure, using several types of cleaning products already in supply. When they place their orders at the beginning of the year, they included the Centers for Disease Control-approved products for disinfection. It includes a variety of supplies, including bleach to disinfect the entire campus.

"We have a safe environment now and wouldn't ask them to send their kids if it wasn't safe," Smith said.

Parents hope the child gets better, and no one else is infected.

"Once they get it, it could be irreversible and I didn't know how bad he was and it can be prevented if all the precautions are made and that's my main concern," said Shandy Clark, a parent with two children in the district.

School officials say for privacy reasons they cannot reveal much information about the student, but we spoke with a parent who has been in touch with the child's family and says doctors are draining a lesion in one knee.

No word yet though on the severity of the child's condition.


He assures that he and the staff at Saint Jo are taking every precautionary measure possible to insure the safety of their students.

School is set to reopen Friday as normal.

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  • by teacher Location: Local ISD on Nov 12, 2007 at 06:42 PM
    Parents should be worried. I am a parent and a teacher for a local district. We barely even get our rooms cleaned at all. It is November and they have yet to op my room even once. I have begun wiping my kids desks down myself (which is technicall illegal because of new Haz Com rules) because the janitor we have is so bad. If one kid in my room gets it, I promise we will all have it soon. The problem is we are relying on some guy who is probably paid a little above min wage and not supervised to come in and clean. A bunch of us have complained repeatedly but nothing has changed. Parents, sed antibacterial gel with your kids or donate some to your classes (my school won't provide any) and tell your kids to use it! My sister has had this multiple times and it almost killed her.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 10, 2007 at 11:58 AM
    If schools would keep their class rooms clean and athletes, locker rooms and ect. these kids would not get sick, everyone carries staph, kids need to keep their hands clean, if the have a cute keep it clean and bandages. Parents need to wash and keep stuff clean at home
  • by Anonymous on Nov 9, 2007 at 07:11 PM
    Still no reply from anyone I contacted about the infection at Pottsboro school including this news channel that is posting these comments...............
  • by Karyn Location: Kingston on Nov 9, 2007 at 02:54 PM
    I hate to ask the obvious - but did the schools also clean the play ground, play structures, bus seats, etc?
  • by Anonymous Location: durant on Nov 9, 2007 at 10:30 AM
    What makes you think they shouldn't close the schools down? The thing about staph infections is that they spread very easy. The panic is over not wanting your kids to get this possibly deadly infection. It's not something to take with a grain of salt. No, we don't need to get histerical, but it is a concern that needs to be addressed.
  • by anonymous Location: sherman on Nov 9, 2007 at 06:05 AM
    In response to your question about the symptoms. I myself have had MRSA and battled it for about a year. You will have what looks like a spider bite come up somewhere on your body, in my case my stomach was the first spot. It starts getting sore and does feel like there is a hard ball underneath the skin, sort of like a boil. You must drain it and once you do it starts to feel better. Mine usually developed a hole in the middle of the area and you must keep it clean and bandaged. I went to an infectious diseases specialist who prescribed me two different antibiotics to take at one time, some topical ointment for the sores and to put in my nose every night and also a soap to use in the shower and was told to wash my sheets everyday and I haven't had a spot for about 3 months now. Sometimes these things got so sore it was hard for me to even walk because I had multiple spots come up usually between my knees and my stomach they would come up in random places. So I hope this helps.
  • by anonymous Location: sherman on Nov 9, 2007 at 05:46 AM
    MRSA has been in the public for quite some time. Local doctors and ER's have been treating MRSA infections (mostly abscesses/boils) in people of all ages. This is not a new thing...It is not necessary for schools to close, or people to panic. Use good handwashing and don't share clothes, towels or personal items.
  • by Billie Location: Van Alstyne on Nov 8, 2007 at 03:56 PM
    My four year-old son went in for surgery last year and contracted MRSA there. It showed up four days later when he got some ant bites around the edges of his underwear. The bites became pus spots that looked and felt like there was a marble under them. I took him to TMC ER and they told me that it was genital herpes. they didnt even bother to test him. They just called the cops and tried to have me arrested. I had to gt tested to prove that I didnt have herpes and took my son to his pediatrician who ran some tests and about 2 weeks later confirmed that it actually was MRSA. I found out then that MRSA is treatable but not curable. Any time my sone gets a cut he has a risk of reinflamation. I must keep him clean constantly to reduce the risks. I have started putting betadine on any cuts and bites he gets to begin treatment immediately just in case.
  • by julie Location: texas on Nov 8, 2007 at 02:36 PM
    what are the symptoms?
  • by Anonymous on Nov 8, 2007 at 02:32 PM
    Madill High School also has had reports of kids with staph infection. They even let one kid go around in one class without his shoe on, and the staph was located on his big toe. He is a wrestler and they are depending on a freshman girl to clean the mats where this kid has been. How do you keep it from the other students when the school won't even take precautions against this.
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