Teacher at Englewood School Has MRSA

School says there's no cause for alarm, but students given rubber gloves

By Kim Vatis
|  Thursday, Mar 24, 2011  |  Updated 5:30 PM CDT
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School says there's no cause for alarm, but students given rubber gloves.

School says there's no cause for alarm, but students given rubber gloves.

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Parents and school officials clashed Thursday at Guggenheim Elementary School in Englewood, where officials confirmed that a teacher had tested positive for MRSA, a serious infection.

The school held an informational meeting for worried parents, most who are keeping their kids home out of fear.

"They act like it's nothing.  Its a very serious matter," said Shamika Clotier, one parent who is keeping her kids home.

Just 57 percent of the school's student population attended classes Thursday.

Principal Vikki Stokes said there is no need to close the school, adding that it had been scrubbed and sanitized.

"We understand parents are concerned," Stokes conceded, but "we encourage students not to miss school."

Some students who did take part in the school day left the building wearing rubber gloves, saying they got them in class.  That's leading parents to question if the school is really safe.

"If the school is clean why are they providing kids with gloves," asked parent Angela Watson.

School officials said it was not a precautionary move, but said that gloves were given out to any student who wanted them.  Once students saw their friends with gloves, they wanted them too, officials explained.

Parents said the infected teacher was a physical education instructor and coach, but the principal would not confirm the exact position.

While letters went out Tuesday to parents, one student said his coach actually warned of health issues last Friday when practice was cancelled.

"They told us about bacteria," said fourth grader Wanya Stone.  His mother, Yolanda Stone, has pulled him out.

"I don't know about a possible outbreak here," she said.

MRSA -- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus -- is a serious bacterial infection that can cause a skin rash.  Those infected will often have a red, bumpy rash.

Frequent hand-washing and hand sanitizers are recomended.

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