Perry Township Superintendent
I truly enjoy serving Perry Township Schools as your superintendent. With almost 15,000 students and more than 1,900 staff members, the odds of something out of the ordinary occurring almost on a daily basis are quite favorable. April 22 was one of those days.
That’s when we received confirmation from the Marion County Public Health Department that an individual at Southport High School had an active case of tuberculosis. We have an action plan in place to address all issues that may possibly arise, and our administrative team is prepared to act on these issues with due diligence.
Our first step is to make sure our children are safe. Dr. Virginia Cane, executive director of the department, served as an adviser every step of the way, from planning to implementation stages as we addressed the issue. She is someone you can depend upon for clear direction when health issues arise. The district hosted a panel of experts from the health department at the school.
We have been assured that our students are in an environment that is not contaminated, nor are any of our buses affected. Students who have been exposed do not pose a threat to others. Testing was conducted April 28 and 29, and results will be available Friday. Follow-up testing will occur in eight to 10 weeks.
The following are some common questions and answers about TB:
What is it?
Tuberculosis is a disease that usually infects the lungs. It is caused by a bacterium called mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB can be treated and cured with medication. It is possible to carry the infection without showing symptoms, but only symptomatic people are contagious to others.
How does TB spread?
Tuberculosis spreads through the air when a person with active TB coughs, sneezes, speaks, sings or laughs. It does not spread by touching surfaces, sharing food, drinks, clothing or a toilet seat, shaking hands, hugging or kissing.
What are the symptoms?
A cough lasting two to three weeks or longer, chills, fever, night sweats, fatigue, coughing up blood or sputum, chest pain, decreased appetite and weight loss without trying.
How do you get tested for TB?
The standard test is a tuberculin skin test. In some cases a blood draw is required.
Is there treatment?
Yes. Anyone who tests positive must undergo a regimen of prescription drugs, which can last anywhere from four to nine months.
Where can I find more information?
The health and safety of our students is our top priority. I wish to thank our students, families and staff members for their understanding and cooperation.
Perry Township: strong schools, strong community.