On Tuesday, March 11, Skippack Elementary School was notified by the Montgomery County Health Department that a third-grade student has been clinically diagnosed with a meningococcal invasive infection.
Upon being made aware of this diagnosis late in the afternoon, Skippack Elementary School Principal Ryan Stanson-Marsh sent out an email to parents to notify them of the case. The email included a fact sheet provided by the Montgomery County Health Department and directed parents with questions to contact the health department or their family doctor with questions/concerns. He has also followed up this morning with communication to staff and parents about this incident.
Perkiomen Valley School District staff will continue to work in collaboration with the county health department to identify close social contacts. While classrooms and bathrooms are cleaned every night by the school’s custodial staff, additional steps will be taken today during the school day to thoroughly disinfect the building. Extra staff is being added to clean building surfaces (desks, chairs, door handles, water fountains, etc.). The operations department is also working with the district’s transportation provider to assure the safety of students on buses. The district is fortunate to have nurses in each school building who will also be able to monitor students for symptoms.
According to the health department, bacteria that causes meningococcal infections is spread by being in close contact with an infected individual’s nose and throat secretions (for example, through kissing or sharing toothbrushes, eating utensils or drinks). Bacteria cannot live long outside of the body and should not be considered airborne or waterborne.
Parents are encouraged to teach their children steps that can prevent infection, such as covering their mouths when coughing or sneezing, not sharing eating or drinking items, frequent hand-washing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle of a balanced diet, rest, and exercise.
The health department is also directing those who think they may have had close contact with the student to receive a prophylactic antibiotic. While the district is not at liberty to disclose the identity of the student, health care providers will be able to conduct a brief interview to determine whether or not a child may need to receive the prophylactic antibiotic. Parents may contact the health department at (610) 278-5117 or call their health care provider for more information.
Please click here for a fact sheet provided by the Montgomery County Health Department on meningococcal infections.