GUILDERLAND: Student treated for staph

At Shaker High School, the district has added a new janitor to the staff to provide additional cleaning to gym and athletic equipment three hours a day, instead of a single extensive cleaning after school once every 24 hours. Staff will conduct a second mid-day cleaning of athletic equipment and areas, said Mary Beth Steffen, district supervisor of health education and health services at North Colonie.

The best prevention is practicing good hygiene, she said.

South Colonie has also upped its attention to cleanliness of its physical education areas, especially where equipment is shared, according to the school district's Web site.

Both districts are emphasizing personal hygiene among students and staff.

Schools are urging hand washing and covering of wounds.

There are no confirmed cases of MRSA at this time in the Voorheesville Central School District. High School Principal Mark Diefendorf, in a letter from the district to parents, said the high school has closed the weight room and is conducting a thorough cleaning and disinfection of all pads and mats in that room as a precaution.

"The deck of the swimming pool has been and will continue to be disinfected before and immediately after all pool-related activities," said Diefendorf.

In addition, locker room benches and any areas where skin-to-skin contact may occur are being disinfected at both the middle and high school. Physical education teachers have been advised to review hygiene and safety measures with all students, and students are being advised to bring physical education clothing home to be cleaned. Also, any towels and/or clothing left in the locker rooms will be bagged and disposed of.

Bethlehem Central School District has also sent a message to parents alerting them of the district's precautionary measures under way. BCSD coaching and physical education staff has been given a state Health Department brochure about the infection to read and review.

The best prevention against the infection is proper hygiene practices, including washing hands thoroughly with soap. Students should try to avoid sharing personal items. Athletes should avoid sharing equipment, and athletic equipment and mats should be wiped down after use with commercial disinfectant or a 1-to-100 solution of diluted bleach. Athletes should shower after practices and competitions; and anyone with an open wound or cut should keep it protected by a dressing or bandage.

Reporter Graham S. Parker contributed to this story.""

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