Superintendent speaks about tragic loss of student to bacterial meningitis

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TUSCARAWAS COUNTY—An Indian Valley High School student is dead, and student leaders tell Fox 8, it was a probable case of bacterial meningitis.

Superintendent of Indian Valley Local Schools, Ira Wentworth, spoke with Fox 8’s Allison Brown Saturday night and explained that he had known the student for years, as a prior teacher and principal in the district.

“It hits close to home,” Wentworth said.

On Saturday, Wentworth had to inform families of the death being connected to meningitis, and encouraged anyone who was exposed to the student earlier in the week to get treated at the hospital.

Indian Valley Junior, Raegan Wires, was one of those students.

“He was actually at school that day [Thursday] he threw up on the bus that morning and then and then he actually threw up again and the day before that I had a study hall with him,” Wires said.

The news has taken an emotional toll on the people in the Village of Gnadenhutten.

“My mom last night [Friday] found out that he died of bacterial meningitis so she took all of my siblings and I to Union Hospital and we just got medicated for it you know just in case.”

School leaders say Indian Valley High School will be closed to students on Monday so everything can be thoroughly disinfected cleaned.

Meanwhile, the Tuscarawas County Health Department provided information about the potentially life threatening infection.

● Signs and symptoms (like fever, or stiff neck) often occur abruptly.
● This “probable” case may take several days to “confirm.”
● The general public or individuals who did not come in close contact with this case should not be concerned.
● Is less contagious than the common cold.
● The bacteria are spread through actions like coughing or kissing.
The superintendent reassured parents that the school was going “above and beyond” recommendations to clean and disinfect the school property, and a bus, using a high concentration of cleaning solution.

The identity of the student who passed away has not been released.

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