Ebola Fears Keep New Burlco Students Home

Parental backlash keeps two African students from starting school.

Panics aren’t pretty. They’re not rational. But they happen, and they’re happening in Burlington County, N.J. — where two Rwandan students are being kept out of classes today, even though their home is 2,600 miles away from the West African nations where the outbreak is actually taking place.

That’s roughly like keeping kids out of school in Philadelphia because somebody caught a cold in Los Angeles.

Fox 29:

Warranted or not, the Ebola scare has hit Howard Yocum Elementary School in Maple Shade, New Jersey. The school has been notifying parents that two students from an east African nation have enrolled. They were supposed to begin classes on Monday; however, after backlash from parents, those kids are now being kept out of school.

In a letter sent by the school nurse to staff members, it says the two students moved from the east African nation of Rwanda and are starting class on October 20th. Even though it’s far away from the Ebola outbreak, the school was going to take precautions, by taking the African students temperature three times a day for the next 21 days. The letter wasn’t sent home to parents — just teachers — and once word got out some wondered why they weren’t notified.

“Tell us when we come into the door. Don’t smile in my face and have a secret like that,” said parent Kristina Dickerson.

NBC10 reports that parents of other children in the school made plans to pull those kids out, until the district announced new arrangements:

Anxiety from parents turned to relief Saturday however when Maple Shade School District Superintendent Beth Nocia announced the parents of the new students chose to keep them home past the 21-day waiting period.

“The Maple Shade School District takes the health of all students and staff very seriously,” Nocia wrote. “As many of you are aware, we have students who have spent time in the eastern portion of Africa that were scheduled to start in our schools on Monday. This area of Africa has been unaffected by the Ebola virus. Despite the fact that the students are symptom-free and not from an affected area, the parents have elected to keep their children home past the 21-day waiting period. The family is looking forward to joining the Maple Shade Schools the following week.“

Only one person in the United States has died of Ebola during the recent outbreak; he was located in Texas.