Saint Jo schools close after student found infected with MRSA UPDATED

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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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