Here is a copy of the letter sent to parents:
May 6, 2010
I am writing to inform you that over the past few weeks a small number of students reported symptoms of diarrheal illness. The students received immediate treatment at local health care providers. There have not been any further reports of new diarrheal illness in our student populations since April 25, 2010.
It was suspected that the cause of illness was related to infection with E-Coli bacteria. Specifically, at this juncture, there have been two confirmed cases, three probable cases and one suspected case. The students attend Roy C. Ketcham HS, John Jay HS, Wappingers JHS, and Van Wyck Middle School. We have been working cooperatively with the Dutchess County Department of Health and the New York State Department of Health to determine what caused this cluster of illness. There is the likelihood of a link between incidents of illness in our school district with the occurrence of illness in Ohio, Michigan and another part of New York State. We recently sent lettuce from our food service department to the New York State Department of Health to be tested. The lettuce tested positive for E-Coli. This lettuce was part of a specific batch received from a supplier used by the school district. Be assured that we have removed all lettuce from this supplier from all of our schools and we are no longer using this supplier. Also, the Dutchess County Department of Health has inspected our food service premises and determined that we are in full compliance with all regulations and that the E-coli is not a result of any food handling procedures.
We will continue to cooperate with both the Dutchess County Department of Health and the New York State Department of Health regarding this matter. Parents and staff are advised to immediately report any symptoms such as diarrhea (especially if bloody), nausea or vomiting to the nurse’s office in your respective schools.
The health and well-being of our students and staff is of foremost importance to us. Please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns about this matter.
James Parla Superintendent of Schools