Shaker Heights schools cleaning all buildings, taking precautions after parent on plane with Ebola patient

Shaker Heights schools cleaning all buildings, taking precautions after parent on plane with Ebola patient

SHAKER HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - Shaker Heights Schools are taking extra precautions, cleaning all classrooms, restrooms and buses Thursday, after finding out that a parent was on the same flight as Ebola patient Amber Vinson.

The Medical Director for the City of Shaker Heights and Shaker Schools, Dr. Scott Frank, said the parent was not in the immediate contact zone with the patient, and is not at high risk for contacting the virus.

The Health Department is working with the parent on monitoring and self-quarantine.

The district says they cleaned all classrooms, restrooms, and buses. Dr. Frank is working with the schools to see that everyone is safe.

Here is a copy of the letter that was sent to parents:

Dear Shaker Families and Staff Members,

We learned this afternoon that a Shaker parent was on the same flight as the Dallas nurse who has been diagnosed with Ebola. Dr. Scott Frank, the medical director for the City of Shaker Heights and the Shaker Schools, informed us that the Shaker parent was not in the immediate contact zone with the Dallas patient, and thus is not considered at high risk for contracting the disease. The Health Department will be advising the Shaker parent and family on appropriate monitoring and voluntary self-quarantine.

There is nothing to suggest that our students or staff are at elevated risk. However, we want to keep you informed with the facts and tell you how we are responding.

As a precautionary measure, we are disinfecting all Shaker classrooms, restrooms, and buses after school today. We are in continuous contact with Dr. Frank to obtain the latest information and advice. He is working closely with the public health and medical communities and has access to the most accurate and current information about this Ebola and other infectious diseases. He and the Shaker Heights Health Department work closely with the schools and our school nurses, and keep us updated on an ongoing basis.

Passengers on the Dallas patient's flight come from many communities in Northeast Ohio, and all are being notified and monitored. It is important to note that there are no suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola in Cuyahoga or Summit County at this time. The Centers for Disease Control, Ohio Department of Health, and local health departments are coordinating their information-gathering, protocols, and recommendations.

Now that the Cleveland-Akron connection to the Ebola outbreak is being widely reported in the news media, parents, teachers, and others who work with children may need advice on how to talk with children about this serious issue in ways that allay their fears and worries.

Experts advise adults to acknowledge, listen and reassure children, permitting them to express their concerns and ask questions about the disease. Assure them that adults are doing everything possible to keep them healthy.

Depending on the age of their students, parents may use the Ebola crisis as a learning opportunity. Discussion topics might include sharing facts about how the disease is spread, how misunderstanding and misinformation can be harmful, how all of us can help the countries most affected by the disease, and the heroism of health care workers who are caring for the sick.

We are staying in close contact with the Shaker Heights Health Department to stay abreast of any new developments that may be relevant to our school community. We will share any new information with you via our website. Any advisories of an urgent nature will be conveyed via e-mail and automated phone calling.

Following my signature you will find additional information about Ebola and universal precautions to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

Thank you for all you do to support our children.


Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.

Superintendent of Schools

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