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Open Campus student diagnosed with MRSA

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

A student at Clayton County's open campus high school has become the latest Georgia student, and the first pupil in the county, to contract Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

The school is located at the Eula Wilborn Ponds Perry Learning Center, 137 Spring St., Jonesboro.

Interim Superintendent Gloria Duncan announced the student's condition during her remarks at the beginning of the Board of Education meeting on Monday night.

School system officials were notified of the diagnoses on the night of Friday, Nov. 2, a spokesman for the school system said.

"Upon notification, we initiated our response plan," Duncan told board members and the audience. "We are committed to keeping our schools safe and healthy for our students."

Charles White, a spokesman for the county's school system, said no further information about the student was made available to him.

The diagnoses came a week after the school system sent out MRSA-related information, including an explanation of the infection, and ways to prevent it from being spread.

MRSA is drug-resistant form of a staph infection, which is spread through contact with people who already have it, or by touching something those infected have already touched.

White said the Perry Center was scrubbed down with cleaners, including the disinfectant, Virex II, by Monday morning. The school system also went through its prepared cleaning methods designed to reduce the chances of a students catching a virus or infection.

These methods include spraying Virex II in all classrooms, bathrooms and locker rooms every day, using a fogger in the locker room at least once a week, wiping tables in the cafeteria with ammonia-bleach water, and cleaning eating and cook utensils with both a detergent and a sanitizing chemical.

Since MRSA is transmitted through physical contact, students, faculty, staff and administrators are being asked to frequently wash their hands with soap.

"As a precaution, we decided to sanitize not only the rooms this student may have been in, but also just about every other area in the Perry Center," White said.

The open campus is a place where students who have, either dropped out of school in the past, or have gotten behind in their classes, can come to finish working on their high school diploma.

Other programs at the Perry Center cover culinary arts, emergency medical technician instruction, air conditioning technician's assistant courses, dental assisting classes, and infant and toddler child care specialist courses.

The Perry Center is across the street from Lee Street Elementary School.