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Dallas ISD Parents Cautious But Confident Their Kids Are Safe From Ebola

Bill Zeeble
Eli Torralba is confident his daughter, Erica, is safe. At Rogers Elementary in Dallas ISD, some parents say they trust health officials are taking care of their kids in light of a patient in Dallas diagnosed with Ebola.

Dallas ISD parents learned Wednesday that five children in four different schools may have had contact with the man diagnosed with Ebola.

District officials say the children have no symptoms but are staying home as a precaution. Parents at Rogers Elementary were given a letter about the news. Ali Ahmaed, with three of his kids at Rogers, said he’s concerned -- but he trusts health officials. So his kids will be back at school Thursday.

“Yes, sure. Why not?” he asked. “So we’ll watch everything, but at the same time, we will be careful about this. Sure they will come.”

Eli Torralba, walking his second-grader home from Rogers, is confident his daughter Erica will be safe. 

“But at same time, it’s always cautious, just to bring a sanitizer with you,” he said. “Other than that, I’m pretty sure they’re taking care of it as much as they could.”

Erica says she’ll be back at Rogers on Thursday because she loves school.

School officials say additional health and custodial staff will be at the five schools the students attended.

The schools are Conrad High, Tasby Middle School, Rogers Elementary and Hotchkiss Elementary.

Gov. Rick Perry addressed the possible exposure earlier Wednesday at a press conference.

“Let me assure you that the children have been identified and are being monitored and the disease cannot be transmitted before having any symptoms,” Perry said. “I have full confidence in the medical professionals and [Dallas ISD] Superintendent Miles and local and our state partners in keeping this contained.

The note that went out to parents of Rogers Elementary seeks to reassure them that the district is managing the situation.

"It is also important to know that individuals are not contagious until symptoms appear. Because of this, there is no imminent danger to your child," principal Lisa Lovato wrote.

In a statement, the district's largest teachers' group said it appreciates the steps the district is taking.

“As a staff, Dallas ISD employees are concerned, but not panicked," Alliance/AFT President Rena Honea said in the statement. "They feel that their concerns are being addressed by school and health officials. Alliance/AFT members have expressed their intention to be in their classrooms with their students as usual in the coming days unless there is a change in the recommendations by public health authorities or in cases where staff members already have personal illnesses themselves.” 

Rogers Elementary Letter Regarding Child Who May Have Had Contact With Ebola Patient

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.