School’s protocol for dealing with diseases

Whenever sickness spreads at school, students hope for enough people to be infected because the school will be forced to shut down. Rumors spread through the halls such as, “If four more people get sick, school is cancelled for a week!” But what is the real criteria for the school to close?

“Hundreds of students would need to contract an illness for school to shut down,” nurse’s aide, Cynthia Flannigan, said.

Cynthia Flannigan

There is no specific number or percentage of students who need to be sick for something to be an epidemic; it’s case-specific.

If there are enough students sick [which] would require [the] school to shut down, it would be an opportunity to sanitize the building and keep us away from each other for an extended period of time so we can all [be well] before we come back to school,” Principal Robert Griffiths said.

Griffiths has been apart of the Olentangy district staff since 2000. There has never been an epidemic at Olentangy to the best of his knowledge.

The school takes multiple different steps to prevent any breakouts. Parents are notified through email whenever there is a contagious disease present, janitors clean the desks and rooms, and teachers remind students to constantly wash their hands. All teachers at Olentangy have gone through bloodborne pathogen training in case they come in contact with someone or something which could possibly be diseased Griffiths said. Being in a building with over 2,000 students, there are many different germs present. Olentangy’s administration does their best to keep diseases under control and keep students aware of any disease-related situations they come across.

Robert Griffiths

Although the school attempts to prevent breakouts, some students do not think the school does enough. Sophomore MacKenzie H. contracted a virus going around the school because she was never informed about the virus until she had it, MacKenzie said.

“No, [the school is] not clean. Not at all,” sophomore Darrell Matlak said, “There’s always so many people sick.”

However, senior Curt F. disagrees.

The school is clean, and the staff does a good job at keeping the students safe from illnesses, Curt said. Sometimes people get sick and it is not from something inside the school. It’s because of something else.

Opinions from students on how the school staff handles diseases varies. Griffiths is confident the nurse, nurses aide and the rest of the teachers do what they can to follow proper procedures. He said the staff keeps the school and the students clean and safe.