Parents Keep Kids From School Over Ebola Fears After Learning Student Has Relatives Visiting From Guinea

Parents who learned a student had relatives visiting from Guinea kept their kids from school, despite the fact that the family had no symptoms of Ebola

Dozens of parents kept their children home from the John Pearl Elementary School in Bohemia Friday because of fears about Ebola after a student's relatives came to visit from Guinea. 

The second-grade student's aunt and cousin just flew in from Guinea, one of the three West African nations ravaged by the Ebola outbreak, according to school officials. The extended family is staying in the student's apartment, causing many parents to worry.

"I feel like they're putting the needs of one child ahead of everyone else. And everyone is very nervous," said parent Rich LaRosa. 

"It's not the fever or the flu, it's something you could die from," added parent Mike Catera.

More than 150 students were absent Friday. That's about two-thirds of the school. 

Bernadette O'Connor said the students "touch everything, they share bathrooms, they share water fountains and there's so much uncertainly about how you contract Ebola, and I would rather be safe than sorry."

A person can't get Ebola through the air, water, or food. Ebola is spread when someone touches the blood of body fluids of a person who is sick with the virus.

There is no indication that anyone from the family has Ebola, and the family members would have been subject to the new enhanced health screening when they landed.

Still, the school district announced Friday that the child would be voluntarily staying at home for 21 days.

As a result, parents said their children will be back in school on Monday, and they are grateful to the student's parents for taking every possible precaution.

On Friday, the Connetquot superintendent said in a statement: "The parents have kindly taken this step to help calm the concerns of other parents and to ensure that there is no interruption in the education of the other students at the elementary school."

The fear among parents at the school comes after a New York City doctor was confirmed to have Ebola, the first case in the tri-state and the fourth in the U.S.

Govs. Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo have since announced a mandatory 21-day quarantine for anyone returning from one of the three Ebola-ravaged West African nations who had contact with a victim. 

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