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FSPS District Focuses Concern Toward MRSA   (Spanish, Vietnamese, Laotian)

MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or “Staph,”—coined the “superbug” by national media—has amassed a great deal of attention over the last few months. Without proper consideration at all levels, this disease is a potentially life-threatening issue with serious long-term health consequences for individuals and the community. It is—however—preventable and controllable.

Common staph is a naturally occurring bacteria that is carried and passed to others by a small percentage of the population. Overcrowded conditions, skin abrasions, and poor hygiene contribute to the likelihood of infection in those who are young, aging or those who have compromised health conditions.

Concern, however, has surfaced with the increasing numbers of healthy students diagnosed with community-acquired staph infections. This staph—dubbed MRSA— resists antibiotic treatment. These two factors compel the Fort Smith Public School (FSPS) District to review health and safety standards and procedures. Educators have discovered that a clean environment and good personal hygiene are among the surest defenses against staph and other similar diseases.

The FSPS Crisis Team met to examine District practices regarding disease control. The team confirmed disinfecting procedures in three areas and that the cleaning products used by the District are appropriate and effective.
•The custodial staff uses a general purpose cleaner, Spartan HDQ Neutral, to clean all portions of school buildings. This cleaning solution kills MRSA as well as other bacteria, viruses, and fungus.
•The athletic departments use a disinfecting product, ZeP Tackle, to clean equipment, locker areas, weight rooms and shower facilities. This disinfectant also kills MRSA, and a variety of other bacteria, fungus and viruses.
•Transportation personnel also use the ZeP Tackle to clean activity buses after each athletic or activity trip. Drivers of route buses and activity buses also have access to a concentrated disinfecting spray that they use as a general disinfectant.

District nurses and teachers routinely teach elementary school students appropriate hand-washing techniques. The use of sanitizing hand gel in secondary school cafeterias is a common practice. Because of the nature of MRSA, and its prevalence in locker room environments, the Crisis Team determined that additional information about the antibiotic-resistant staph would be beneficial for secondary school students and their teachers. Special emphasis was placed on educating student athletes.

To date, all secondary school principals, district coaches, athletic trainers, other athletic personnel and student athletes have seen the video “MRSA…A Ticking Time Bomb” produced by TEC Laboratories. All secondary staff members and every junior and senior high school student are scheduled to see this video as are elementary principals and teachers.

In addition to providing focused video instruction, the District has posted materials in high-traffic student areas in the secondary schools, and athletic trainers are talking to their students about MRSA prevention. The District will continue to approach the possibility of MRSA and other infections seriously and actively. Prevention is addressed in the varied and common disinfection procedures and in the ongoing education of staff and students who work and learn in FSPS.

For more information about MRSA visit http://www.healthyarkansas.com/mrsa/information.html. A Center for Disease Control (CDC) podcast is available at http://www2a.cdc.gov/podcasts/player.asp?f=6936. Both resources offer straightforward and realistic information about MRSA.


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PO Box 1948 | 3205 Jenny Lind Road | Fort Smith, Arkansas 72902

In compliance with federal nondiscrimination laws, the Fort Smith Public School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, genetic information, or disability in its employment or educational practices. If you have questions regarding the professional qualifications of your child's teachers or paraprofessionals, you are encouraged to ask Mr. Martin Mahan, Executive Director of Human Resources. • Le invitamos a que hable con la Senor Martin Mahan si usted tiene alguna pregunta sobre las capacitaciones profesionales de los maestros o asistentes de maestros de sus hijos.

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