At least eight cases of scabies have been confirmed among students within Cumberland School District in Virginia – six at the local elementary school, and two at the middle school. While assistant superintendent Elizabeth Jamerson insisted as recently as October 3 that the incident was isolated to the elementary school, reports surfaced just a few days later of there being cases over at least two schools within the district.
Extra staff were brought in to clean the known-to-be-infested schools, and students were sent home with scabies facts sheets (linked below) from the Virginia Department of Health. Superintendent Amy Griffin posted a cell phone video on the district website addressing parental concerns and assuring them the schools and buses would be cleaned over the next 12 weeks. She urged parents to “do their part” to prevent the spread of the disease, including practicing good hygiene and keeping any children presenting symptoms at home.
Scabies is a contagious skin infection caused by a mite that burrows into the skin. It is most often passed through prolonged (10+ minutes) contact with the skin of another person, through close living conditions and/or sex. High incidence has been reported in places such as daycare facilities and prisons (school is, arguably, both). Symptoms of scabies usually don’t present themselves until between two and six weeks after infection, so it’s safe to say more cases will be reported before all’s said and done.
Cumberland County Public Schools serves 1,364 students in grades PK, K-12 in three schools, and according to Niche, scores at a B or below for everything but diversity. Over 65% of the student population receives free or reduced lunch.