District takes proactive measures related to Ebola

Anahi Castro, Editor-in-Chief

Yesterday Superintendent Bob Morrison sent a letter home to all GISD students informing everyone that parents at North Garland and Schrade Middle School were aboard the Frontier Airlines flight with the second healthcare worker that was diagnosed with the Ebola virus.

Even though administrators told students not to panic yesterday, out of 2,511 students, about 500 students did not come to school.

As panic goes through students’ minds, teachers and administrators remain calm. Yesterday’s sudden announcement worried many students and made them feel uncomfortable to be at the school. Aside from feeling uncomfortable, students were also exposed to all the rumors created by social media.

”They were saying that two students actually got infected, and I was like, really,” Senior Lilly Recinos said. “And there was people absent, and people trying to figure out [if it was one of them].”

A few students have come to school prepared to fight off the disease with a mask on and occasional gloves are also seen on students’ hands. However, forensics teacher Dustin Barth said the best thing to do is to remain calm.

“If your level of panic is so high right now, then what happens if something [major] does happen?” Barth said.

Although some students said the announcement and letter going home yesterday afternoon was not the best way to handle the situation, Barth said that it was the best the school could do in such short notice. Students were not supposed to find out that the issue pertained to Ebola until the very end of the day. Students finding out caused a lot of panic as they took to social media. But Barth said they should consider speaking of the positive things that are going on around us.

“Right now they’re not talking about the nurses [Amber Vinson and Nina Pham],” Barth said. “[People are not talking about] how she’s taken good care of at the hospital.”

It is important to remember that Ebola is not airborne and that the chances of anyone in the school being infected are low. There have only been two cases of people being infected with Ebola in the country, so it is not likely for anyone else to get infected.

The North Garland parent was seated several rows behind the nurse that was showing little symptoms during the plane to Dallas. The Center for Disease and Prevention (CDC) did not find it necessary to shut down the school or have the family quarantined. Health Science and Technology teacher Nancy Stewart said there is no need to panic because no student in the school is infected, like many students assumed.

“[The CDC] has been studying Ebola [for 40 years] and they probably know more than us,” Stewart said. “I wouldn’t be concerned with the school business, but if someone in the airplane does come with it, we may have to reconsider.”

The school will undergo a deep cleaning over the weekend in which cleaning specialists will come to the school and clean all surfaces. But the school has not been the only school to undergo a deep cleaning. Richardson High School underwent a deep cleaning when the Norovirus broke out last year. The schools in Royce city had an Ebola-related cleaning today. Ms. Stewart said that although the deep cleansing is probably not necessary, students should focus on the positive side and think that we are getting a lot of the other general bacteria and germs out. So in the long run, it is a good thing.

“Well supposedly what they are doing, many people from the company that we work with are already cleaning and disinfecting everything that [students] touch, like doorknobs, bathrooms, student desks. So basically everything that you all touch,” GCA worker Mario Regalado said.

As oppose to normal cleaning that they do, they will be using a stronger disinfectant. And all of the janitors are using gloves this time

“I always use my gloves,” Regalado said. “Just as a precautionary measure.”