DALLAS, Texas — Parents are feeling panicky at Zion Lutheran School in Northeast Dallas. The private Christian school offers pre-K through middle school plus after school care to approximately 300 students and isn’t even a school under Ebola watch but it’s located across the street from the Village Bend Apartment home of yet another Texas Health care worker diagnosed with Ebola, Amber Vinson.
It’s also one block away from Dan D. Rogers Elementary, one of the Dallas Independent School District (ISD) campuses where Ebola fever scanners were installed to monitor for the deadly virus. Zion Lutheran is also five minutes south of the Ivy Apartments where Ebola patient zero Thomas Eric Duncan was staying and two miles from the Marquita Street apartment dwelling of the first Ebola diagnosed Duncan caretaker, Nina Pham. It’s all a little too close for comfort.
Parents at Zion Lutheran were concerned that the virus was spreading through the health care workers who treated Duncan. They were more than willing to talk about it to Breitbart Texas before afternoon pick up on October 15. They asked, however, that their names to be withheld “out of respect for the school and its leadership,” as one parent put it. Yet it was clear there was a heightened sense of worry in Dallas as more Ebola victims emerge.
One dad told Breitbart Texas, “We went ahead and went in today.” He added, “I don’t know that I made the right decision to send my child in today.”
This parent was riddled with uncertainty. He said he was considering taking his child out of school temporarily because was worried there may be a “full blown outbreak.”
He also expressed uneasiness with the proximity of the two nurse Ebola victims apartments to the campus. He said that Vinson’s apartment was “900 yards from the school” and Marquita, the street where Pham lives, “is within a golf ball’s throw from Zion.”
This dad also wanted to point out the golf ball reference was deliberate. He took a swipe at the Commander-in-Chief for his seemingly greater interest in golf than the life-threatening situation unfolding in Dallas. Breitbart Texas reported that President Obama played his 200th round of golf as the news broke of nurse Pham testing positive for Ebola.
Zion Lutheran parents were far from comfortable with the news of a second nurse stricken with Ebola. It was right in their front yard. One of parents described when news crews reported outside of Vinson’s apartment earlier in the day as “they were less than 50 feet from Zion’s ball field and less than 100 feet from Zion’s cafeteria.”
School leadership was not nearly as alarmed as were its moms and dads. Zion Lutheran’s well-liked Minister of Education/Principal Jeff Thorman, maintained a calm demeanor. He told Breitbart Texas that the school has not changed any of its procedures. That included children still had outdoor recess. He also indicated that they had not been contacted by the Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) and he was following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended safety measures.
Zion Lutheran also emailed to its families a list of CDC Ebola protocols reminding children to frequently wash their hands with soap and water as well as stay home with a 100 degree fever. The CDC also advised children not to touch their face and eyes with their hands and not to share food and drinks.
Thorman told Breitbart Texas, “We’re doing our due diligence on our side. We’re praying for all the folks affected with this. We continue tofollow CDC guidelines. We haven’t had anybody who was in contact with anyone. We’re following through on our protocol.”
The CDC website states that the virus is only transmitted by direct contact through broken skin or mucous membranes including the eyes, nose, or mouth or through blood or body fluids such as urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen of a person who is sick with Ebola. Syringes and needles that have been contaminated with the virus and infected animals are conduits that spread the fatal virus as well.
“Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food,” according to the CDC, although there are exceptions to these rules in Africa.
However, there appears to be a lack of confidence in the CDC. Another parent told Breitbart Texas that some parents are talking about making back up plans, in case. That means, instead of sending them to school. The parent said, “I’m very nervous about all this.”
In Dallas ISD, Saldivar Elementary School had an Ebola scare on October 15th when one of its teachers reported to the school’s clinic with a lower-grade fever. Even though Saldivar is about 10 miles slightly southwest of the Ebola concentrated area, this teacher lives in the same apartment complex as the diagnosed Vinson.
According to the district’s Health Updates, the Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) “reviewed the circumstances and provided assurance that the teacher has absolutely no risk of having been exposed to the Ebola virus.”
These sorts of scares coupled with the spreading Ebola certainly don’t alleviate the fears of parents with school-aged children in the area.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.