Thursday, September 27, 2018

Ongoing Investigation and Concerns Over Student's Health Issues at Eiland Middle School

The following is a joint press release from Louisville Municipal School District and Winston County Emergency Management concerning ongoing issues at Eiland Middle School. Classes continue today although most students have left school for the day. In conversations with LMSD Superintendent Randy Grierson, unless situations change, school will be held at Eiland on Friday. In addition to the resources already on the ground, the National Guard Civil Support Team is expected on site by 1:30 today to conduct additional environmental tests. Blood tests from students who displayed symptoms yesterday are in the possession of Ms. Poison Control and will be tested for an array of substances.
( For full disclosure, this writer serves as Public Information Officer for Winston County and was involved in the production of this press release. William McCully) 

Joint press release from LMSD and Winston County EMA  - issued 12:00 Thursday, Sept 27, 2018

Efforts are on-going at Eiland Middle School in Louisville to discern the source of numerous health issues of students, staff and first responders that began on Tuesday.

As many as four students began complaining of dizziness, flushing on Tuesday on one hall of the school. On Wednesday, multiple students suffered similar complaints and temporarily losing consciousness as emergency personnel were called to the scene. Nine students were treated at Winston Medical Center. At least two teachers/staff and four first responders also suffered symptoms that included dizziness, flushing and losing consciousness. While most students were treated and released, two were transported to hospitals in Jackson, UMMC and Batson for further treatment. Latest information indicates that one of these students will be released today. Both students are believed to have pre-existing conditions that may have had a role in their hospitalization.

LMSD, Winston County Emergency Management and local law enforcement immediately began investigating the incident. All students were evacuated from the 8th grade hall and efforts were made to find an environmental source of the problem. Through the evening and into this morning, numerous resources have been involved in the investigation. At this time, no environmental cause has been found. Agencies involved include: MS. Poison Control, MS. Department of Health, MEMA, MS. National Guard Civil Support, Louisville Police Department, Louisville Fire Department, Winston County Sheriff’s Office and Winston County Emergency Management. Atmos energy also inspected the facility for gas leaks, carbon monoxide and methane and found no problems.

Today, Thursday, there have been at least four students and one teacher reporting symptoms. Some have been transported for medical assistance.

In addition to possible environmental causes, LMSD and agencies are investigating the possibility that vaping and/or other substances may be the cause. At least one student on Wednesday and one on Thursday admitted to vaping either prior to/or at school. Currently there is no evidence that secondhand vaping could cause such symptoms. No specific drugs/substances have been identified that might be a source.

Superintendent Randy Grierson indicated that after Wednesday’s thorough inspection of the facility and in consultation with other resources including the LMSD Board of Trustees and the MS. Department of Education, it was agreed to conduct classes on Thursday.

“Be assured that all resources have been called in to investigate and find the source of this problem. It is sad and disheartening but we intend to provide a safe environment for our students. . You can’t go overboard when dealing with the safety of our children.”

In response to the flood of rumors about the situation, Grierson asked, “Please get as much factual information as possible before spreading potentially false information. It is important that we unify and support our school system. We will overcome this and grow from it. We will continue to do all we can to make our schools safe. It is a time to come together, be patient and unify around our school and students.”

“Currently numerous governmental agencies, law enforcement personnel are on the scene and inspection and investigation is ongoing. The National Guard Civil Support Team is expected to be on the scene today and will also test all facilities for possible causes and will assist in insuring that our school is safe for operation.”