Tuscarawas County high school reopens after student dies, probable case of bacterial meningitis discovered

TUSCARAWAS COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - Students at Indian Valley High School, where a probable case of bacterial meningitis was confirmed, are returning to class Tuesday morning just days after a student's death.

Officials with the Indian Valley Local Schools system reassured faculty, students, and families that precautions were put into place after the case was confirmed.

According to Superintendent Ira Wentworth, hospital grade anti-viral and bacterial solutions were used to treat areas that could have been contaminated by bodily fluids, such as the school bus and a restroom. The plan of action included:

  1. Cleaning the restroom of concern with an extra high concentration of the appropriate solution.
  2. Wiping down every interior surface of Bus 24 twice with an extra high concentration of the appropriate solution.
  3. Cleaning desktop surfaces, tables, counters, door knobs, drinking fountains, etc at the high school with appropriate solution.

HIPAA laws prevent the health department from saying who the confirmed sample came from. However, Indian Valley High School freshman Ryan Freeland died Thursday, Dec. 14, according to his obituary. Bacterial meningitis was suspected.

Families of students known to have come in close contact with Ryan on Dec. 14 were urged to go to a local hospital for medication.

The Tuscarawas County Health Department said on Monday the probable case of meningitis that was confirmed was a known strain. If the strain tested unknown, a plan to sanitize and disinfect may not have been as effective.

The bacteria can cause respiratory and ear infections, pneumonia and meningitis. Meningitis is the most severe type of pneumococcal disease. It is spread through coughing and kissing.

Bacterial Meningitis FAQs

Visitation for Rayn will be Tuesday night from 5 p.m to 7 p.m. at St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Port Washington. Funeral services are scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 20 at 1 p.m., with burial immediately following at Union Cemetery in Salem Township.

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