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Custodians disinfect Westford Academy of MRSA bacteria

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Four Westford Academy students have been diagnosed with a dangerous staph bacteria known as MRSA and crews are inside the school today disinfecting with special attention being paid to the school’s two gymnasiums and the locker rooms.

“Back to School Night,” an evening for parents to visit their children’s classrooms and meet their Westford Academy teachers begins in the mid afternoon today and is still being held, according to school officials.

The Westford Academy school calendar, created in March, had scheduled this as a day that students would not be attending school. Students are not inside the building as custodians apply a “registered disinfectant” to all surfaces in the building, said Superintendent Everett “Bill” Olsen.

“We’re using this as an opportune time to disinfect…,” he said.

Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus is resistant to certain antibiotics and may cause skin and other infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Westford’s Director of School Nurses Joan Mitchell notified Olsen this week that MRSA had possibly been discovered as she awaited a positive diagnosis. Olsen released a statement yesterday, alerting the school community.

“Westford Academy understands the urgency in addressing these infections immediately,” Olsen stated in his letter, “and will continue to disinfect locker rooms, gym and wrestling mats and equipment.  In addition, all coaches are reviewing with their athletes the signs and symptoms, as well as methods to prevent Staph infections.”

In a phone conversation, Olsen encouraged students and parents to wash gym bags, towels, and sports uniforms.

Olsen said school will resume tomorrow.

“There’s no reason to cancel classes,” he said, adding that students are not contagious as long as they are being treated with antibiotics and the infected area is bandaged.