The Miami-Dade Department of Health met with parents of Coral Reef Senior High students Sunday following the death of an 18-year-old at the school from bacterial meningitis.
Health officials spoke to parents about the disease and informed them of preventative treatments should their children have come into contact with it, the school board announced.
“What I learned and appreciated was how on top of it they were,” said parent Steve Kronen, who has a 17-year-old senior at the school. “That they’re here giving the seminar, they’re watching everything.”
Kronen added that he felt reassured after t he meeting and will send his daughter to school with hand cleanser.
“I wanted to be as educated as possible about how it all works and what precautions I can take.”
Meanwhile, Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools John Schuster released a statement Sunday about the situation.
“Senior District staff stressed to parents that all necessary measures will be taken Monday morning to safeguard the health of students at the school,” he said.
Furthermore, the health department posted an advisory on the school’s website, stating it is conducting a “high risk group contact investigation” as a precautionary measure.
The advisory said criteria for those at high risk include:
- Household contact, or a person who frequently sleeps or eats in the same dwelling as the patient
- Child care or nursery school contact in the previous seven days
- A person with direct exposure to patient’s secretions through kissing, sharing toothbrushes or eating utensils, markers of close social contact
- A person who performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or had unprotected contact during “endotracheal intubation in seven days before onset of the illness”
- Passengers seated directly next to an infected person during airline flights lasting more than eight hours
Parent Robert Cournoyer said he's spoken to his son about what to do if any symptoms arise.
“We just let him know, you know, if you find yourself with the symptoms or anything like that pertaining to what we got in the newsletter from the school, just let us know,” he said.
He felt ill at his home on SW 192nd Street Friday morning and was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital South where he was later pronounced dead, Miami-Dade Police said in a statement. Valdes died within one hour of arriving at a hospital, medical officials said at a news conference.
A letter to parents, which was obtained by NBC 6 South Florida, said that the student was diagnosed with meningococcal disease, a severe infection of the bloodstream caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis.
The school said it was on lockdown Friday and wanted to make sure that parents got the letter.