The death of a teacher from meningitis forces the closure of the Aurora school

AURORA, Col. (KDVR) — A local high school will close Wednesday after a teacher died with symptoms of bacterial meningitis.

The case is affecting the Eaglecrest High School community. In a letter Tuesday, the Cherry Creek School District said it is working to identify students and staff who may have been in close contact with the teacher.

“Those individuals will be offered preventative antibiotics,” the district said.

Maddie Schmidt, a teacher at the integrated learning center, died over the weekend, according to the district. The Arapahoe County Department of Public Health alerted the district that the teacher “had symptoms consistent with bacterial meningitis.”

The district is offering support to the school community after his death.

“As the Eaglecrest community continues to grieve this week, we will have school and district mental health support staff available,” according to the letter.

Athletics and other activities were canceled Tuesday, with all classes and activities canceled for Wednesday. The PSAT and SAT tests scheduled for Wednesday will have a new date.

What is bacterial meningitis?

Eaglecrest is working with the county health department on the response. Along with contact tracing, the school is distributing general information about bacterial meningitis and symptoms to watch out for.

Meningitis is when the protective membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord swell due to a bacterial or viral infection from the fluid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC emphasized that Bacterial meningitis is “serious” and, in some cases, can cause death or permanent disability. Symptoms can come on suddenly and quickly worsen, with hospitalization and, in some cases, death, possible within hours.

According to information distributed by the school district, signs and symptoms of bacterial meningitis include:

  • High fever
  • Intense headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Drowsiness
  • nausea vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • Being disoriented, irritable, or confused
  • light sensitive eyes

The germs that cause it can be spread from person to person through direct contact with saliva or discharge from the nose/throat of an infected person, who may not have symptoms. Group settings are a risk factor.

Anyone with questions about bacterial meningitis can contact Arapahoe County Public Health at 303-795-HLTH (4584).


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