School district addresses issue of ill student

JACKSON — Administrators in the Jackson School District addressed the concerns of parents who have children enrolled at the Elms Elementary School after initial reports emerged that a pupil might have contracted viral meningitis.

According to the school district, there had not been a formal diagnosis of the child as of Oct. 19.

In recent weeks, health officials throughout the state have been on alert as diagnoses of the enterovirus D-68 have been reported. On Sept. 25, a 4-year-old boy died in his home in Hamilton Township, Mercer County, after battling D-68.

Jackson administrators said they are confident the district’s schools are properly maintained and being kept as safe as possible from spreading infectious diseases to students and staff members.

“We are confident in our cleaning procedures and have all been operating at a heightened state of awareness and vigilance in light of other illnesses in the country,” administrators said in a message to parents.

They said the student in question was not at risk of being diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes as a more severe version of the disease.

In the case of viral meningitis, the CDC states that the disease usually goes away without the need for special treatment.

Symptoms experienced with viral meningitis include fever, headache and a stiffness in the neck. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and altered mental status.

As a result of the potential diagnosis, administrators urged parents to make sure they observe their children practicing proper hygiene and adhering to the school district’s hygiene guidelines.