Watch CBS News

Officials Warning Parents After Enterovirus Reported At Elizabeth, NJ, Public School

ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Elizabeth public schools have issued a warning for parents after two cases of enterovirus were reported at an elementary school.

In a letter to parents on the school district's website, school officials say the virus was reported at Juan Pablo Duarte-José Julián Martí School No. 28.

Officials Warning Parents After Enterovirus Reported At Elizabeth, NJ, Public School

School officials say they don't yet know if it is the D68 strain of the virus, which is the one causing severe respiratory issues in children infected across the country.

Elizabeth began cleaning and disinfecting the elementary school and the entire fleet of buses.

But as CBS 2's Jessica Schneider reported, the president of the school board sent an angry letter to the CDC Thursday, complaining about the hours the board spent on hold trying to get answers.

"It is reprehensible that government entities like ours have no direct access into the CDC for guidance..." the letter reads.

The district is demanding "that the CDC immediately test the virus specimen from the School 12 and 23 students for EV-D68 strain" and that the CDC give "all available assistance to deal with this situation."

The CDC did not return calls from CBS 2 regarding the letter.

EXTRA: Enterovirus D68: What Every Parent Should Know

"We have been working alongside local health officials," schools Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer said in the letter. "With their help and your vigilance, we can ensure that we maintain a safe and healthy school community."

The student who contracted the virus has not been to school and is under observation.

Officials Warning Parents After Enterovirus Reported At Elizabeth, NJ, Public School

Goncalves told WCBS 880's Jim Smith nurses are also going through classrooms monitoring kids' temperatures and not showing any signs of illness.

"We really believe that we have a warm, safe, loving environment right now and that children are perfectly OK in the schools," Goncalves told CBS 2's Andrea Grymes.

But some parents are not convinced.

"I came to pick up my kids' homework for the next two days because I don't trust them being in school right now," one mother said.

Sakeyia Rainey said she nervously sent her two children to class Thursday morning after learning about the enterovirus case the night before.

"Yes, I'm worried," she said. "I'm very worried.

"I went to the school to see what was going on."

Some loved ones, however, said they're glad the school and the kids are taking the case seriously.

"I told him to clean his hands with hand sanitizer (and) if anyone touches him or if anyone coughs to cover your mouth," said Nitza Davila, the aunt of one student.

The D68 strain of the virus is the one that killed 4-year-old Eli Waller last month in Hamilton, New Jersey. He was a preschooler at Yardville Elementary School.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says every year, enteroviruses and rhinoviruses cause millions of respiratory illnesses in children, but this year, the number of people with the confirmed D68 infection is much greater than previous years.

There are no specific treatments for the virus, but there are things you can do to protect yourself and others:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
• Avoid kissing, hugging and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick
• Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

Health officials also suggest that parents call their physician if a child shows symptoms of the respiratory virus.

The school is not the only one dealing with enterovirus this week. On Long Island, Southampton Elementary School students went back to class Thursday after administrators shut down their building because of a case of enterovirus that was not the D68 strain. The school and its bus fleet were also disinfected.

Check Out These Other Stories From

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.