UPDATE | Parents, school officials meet to discuss scabies, communication in Logan County

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LOGAN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 4/5/19 @ 10:25 p.m.
After two weeks of dealing with scabies, Logan County parents and school officials met to discuss the issue and ask questions on Friday.

Since the report of multiple cases, Holden Central Elementary School has been cleaned and even closed for two days.

Most parents were focused on the lack of communication after the infestation. "If we would've gotten the correct communication to begin with, then we wouldn't be here today," parent LaDonna Goodman said.

Superintendent Patricia Lucas said once she found out the parents were not notified, she tried to "rectify the situation."

Principal Latisha Marcum said she was told whoever spoke about the infestation could lose their job. However, Superintendent Lucas said she never told school staff to keep quiet. "I don't micromanage the school and they have my permission to use their own judgement," Superintendent Lucas said.

School officials blamed the lack of communication on student confidentiality, but parents said they did not need to know specific student information.

Parents said their calls went unanswered, so people like Goodman pushed for Friday's meeting. They asked about the lack of communication and why it was so important for the school to stay open. The school closed for two days, but on Wednesday when it reopened, only 29 students were there.

Parents also voiced concerns about excused absences and Principal Marcum said, as long as the parent sends a note explaining the absences, they will be excused. However, students are only allowed 10 excused absences.

Now, parents know the school is safe and they are hopeful things will improve.

"I want to make sure that the principal has my permission, at any time, if there's an issue to talk to the parents," Superintendent Lucas said.

UPDATE 4/3/19 @ 4:25 p.m.
A school that has been dealing with a scabies issue had a slightly more than 83 percent absentee rate on Wednesday, according to the superintendent's office at Holden Central Elementary School.

Only 29 of 174 children made it to school on Wednesday.

The school was closed Tuesday because of strong fumes left over from cleaning supplies. Parents are asking to close the school for another day to wipe everything down. They say there is still a residue on desks and lockers. They also say they want more communication with school officials, and the superintendent says she's willing to meet with them.

We first reported about the issue last week when Logan County Superintendent Patricia Lucas says school and health officials were looking into reports of "a few" cases of scabies at Holden Central Elementary. One of the cases involved a teacher, according to the superintendent.

The news prompted a West Virginia Education Association official to recommend calling off school as the district dealt with the issue.

Scabies are mites that burrow under the skin and cause extreme itching. The Center for Disease Control said they can spread rapidly under crowded conditions and through skin-to-skin contact.

School officials say it's vital that parents with affected children follow the proper steps at home to get rid of the scabies.



UPDATE 4/2/19 @ 3:35 p.m.
Holden Central Elementary School was closed Tuesday as school officials continue dealing with a scabies issue.

The superintendent's office says they got a call from a school employee Tuesday morning, saying the strong fumes from cleaning supplies led them to call off school.

We first reported about the issue last week when Logan County Superintendent Patricia Lucas says school and health officials were looking into reports of "a few" cases of scabies at Holden Central Elementary.

The news prompted a West Virginia Education Association official to recommend calling off school as the district dealt with the issue.

Scabies are mites that burrow under the skin and cause extreme itching. The Center for Disease Control said they can spread rapidly under crowded conditions and through skin-to-skin contact.



UPDATE 3/29/19 @ 1:15 p.m.
A West Virginia Education Association official is calling on a school district to close as it deals with scabies.

Logan County Superintendent Patricia Lucas says school and health officials are looking into reports of "a few" cases of scabies at Holden Central Elementary School.

"I have asked Ms. Lucas to shut down the school on Monday to give time to clean properly while allowing for the building to be empty for three days," the WVEA representative told WSAZ. "Also, I have requested that information be sent home with every kid on how to prevent/treat scabies along with info about what procedures the county is following to remedy the situation. I have also requested that, if in fact the schools are safe enough for students and employees to be there, then the superintendent and assistant superintendent should personally visit the school to meet with employees to explain what is being done to control the outbreak and why it is safe to be there. It would also be nice to see them interacting with some of the children."



ORIGINAL STORY 3/28/19
School and health officials are looking into reported scabies cases at Holden Central Elementary School, the Logan County superintendent said Thursday.

She said they’ve had “a few” confirmed cases at the school, explaining there are about 10 cases total. The first case was brought to their attention last Thursday. As a result, school officials have and are adding additional custodial employees to the school after hours for extra cleaning.

Schools officials said parents were not notified of the issue because of confidentiality, but parents became frustrated when they found out. "It's not something you want to deal with but it would be nice to know ahead of time before I send my children up here," parent Stephanie Ooten said.

The superintendent also says the head school nurse has been in contact with the health department and the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) for guidance.

“We are taking every precaution for the safety of the students,” she said.

Scabies are mites that burrow under the skin and can cause extreme itching. The Center for Disease Control said they can spread rapidly under crowded conditions and through skin-to-skin contact.

The head nurse tells us all confirmed cases have been treated. She said the health department is not referring to the cases as an outbreak, and school officials are taking every precaution to prevent the spread.

If you think your child has scabies, the CDC recommends seeing a doctor for treatment. The mites cannot survive more than two to three days away from human skin, so all bedding and clothing should be washed in hot water and dried using a hot cycle.



 
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