Three Colorado teachers have suddenly died within a short period of time, raising concerns about a possible outbreak of bacterial meningitis.
Three Cherry Creek School District faculty members died last weekend: Maddie Schmidt (24), Judith Geoffroy (63), and Scott Nash (age unknown). Schmidt’s death was the most alarming, as she had “symptoms consistent” with bacterial meningitis at the time.
Bacterial Meningitis can be a deadly illness. It affects the membranes that surround the brain and spine. It is spread through body fluids such as saliva and mucus. Early diagnosis and aggressive antibacterial treatment can increase your chances of survival. Bacterial Meningitis is a serious illness that affects the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Common symptoms are a severe headache and a stiff neck.
The district stated in a press release that “Arapahoe County Public Health” will contact all staff and families of students who are determined to have been in close contact with Schmidt. These individuals will receive preventative antibiotics.
Arapahoe County Public Health has confirmed that only one case of bacterial Meningitis has occurred in the county. However, since Schmidt’s death cause has not yet been determined, it’s unclear if she is a second case.
Eaglecrest High School, in Aurora, Colorado where Schmidt was employed in the student achievement services department, closed its doors on Wednesday for contact tracing purposes and to “create some space” for the community to grieve. Judith Geoffrey was a paraprofessional who worked with Schmidt in Eaglecrest’s Integrated Learning Center. This area of the school is designated for special education.
It is still unknown what the official cause of each woman’s death was. Reports state that their remains are still undergoing ancillary tests. The public will learn the cause of death once officials receive the results from these tests.
Scott Nash was the other teacher to die over the weekend. He taught physical education at Willow Creek Primary School and coached freshmen baseball at Cherry Creek High School. The cause of his death was not released, but district officials said that he had no connection to the deaths of Schmidt and Geoffrey.
Abbe Smith, district spokesperson, said that there was no reason to think Nash had bacterial meningitis.
Mary Whitney, Willow Creek’s principal, said that Scott has been a valuable part of the Willow Creek community over the past two years. He supported students in grades K-5 with our physical education program. He will be missed by both students and staff.