High school closed due to ‘probable’ case of meningitis after student passes away

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TUSCARAWAS COUNTY, Ohio -- A high school in Gnadenhutten is closed on Monday because of a probable case of bacterial meningitis, a letter from the school stated. A student, who has not yet been identified, passed away earlier this week, Superintendent Ira Wentworth confirmed to Fox 8 News.

Indian Valley Local Schools sent the following letter (in part) to families on Saturday:

"This letter is to inform you of a “probable case of bacterial meningitis” with a high school
student on Bus 24, Lisa Hall’s bus. We have been in contact with the Tuscarawas County
Health Department who conferred with the Ohio Department of Health and the Center for
Disease Control for appropriate protocols."

The school said they notified all families of students who were known to have close contact with the student suspected of having the illness. Additionally, the families were encouraged to take the exposed students to local hospitals for treatment.

The Tuscarawas County Health Department provided the below information to the school district about bacterial meningitis:

● Signs and symptoms often occur abruptly, as it did with this case. This individual
did not exhibit symptoms until December 14.
● This “probable” case may take several days to “confirm.”
● The general public or individuals who did not come in close contact with this case
should not be concerned at the current time as this appears to be an isolated case.
● Is less contagious than the common cold.
● Is not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with
meningitis has been.
● The bacteria are spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions
(i.e. coughing, kissing).
● More information can be found at www.tchdnow.org

Wentworth reassured parents that the school was going "above and beyond" recommendations to clean and disinfect the school property, and a bus, using a high concentration of cleaning solution.

While Indian Valley High School will be closed this Monday, all other schools will be in session, Wentworth said.

Grief counselors were made available to students on Friday. The school was not aware the student's death was possibly connected to meningitis until this weekend, Wentworth told Fox 8 News.

**Read the full letter, here**

This is a developing story. Stick with Fox 8 News and FOX8.com for more updates as they become available.

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