BREAKING: Four more New Brockton students sent to ER with elevated carbon monoxide

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UPDATE:

Coffee County Schools has issued the following release regarding the school’s status:

On Thursday August 15, 2019 we were alerted that several students in physical education class at New Brockton High School were exhibiting signs of headaches, dizziness, nausea and other symptoms of possible heat related issues. These students were evaluated by the school nurse and transported to Enterprise Medical Center for further evaluation. When notified by emergency room officials of students’ elevated levels of carbon monoxide, the gym was immediately evacuated and closed. The Southeast Gas Company, Coffee County EMA, New Brockton Police Dept. and the New Brockton Fire Dept. were contacted to provide assistance in identifying possible causes of these symptoms. Those students transported to the hospital were released by emergency medical staff yesterday afternoon. All other students that were in the gym during that time were evaluated by school nursing staff prior to leaving campus without similar symptoms.


Last night, more New Brockton High School students were transported by private vehicle to the Enterprise Medical Center exhibiting similar symptoms as those during the school day. Those students were evaluated, treated and released by emergency room personnel. As a precautionary measure, it was decided to close both New Brockton High School and New Brockton Elementary School until further testing could be completed.

Results of an overnight inspection were negative. This morning, we were assisted by additional agencies (Ft. Rucker Fire Dept., Enterprise Fire Dept., Coffee County Sheriff’s Dept. and Alabama Dept. of Public Health) in the search for answers to why our students developed these symptoms. After another thorough inspection of the school and buses, no indication of carbon monoxide was detected or any other gases that could be harmful to our students and staff. Further testing will be conducted this weekend to ensure further safety precautions have been taken. Any additional testing required will be completed as recommended by those agencies assisting us. It is the opinion of all agencies involved that New Brockton High School is safe.

If your child has exhibited any of these symptoms, please contact New Brockton High School or the Coffee County Board of Education at (334) 894-2350 or (334) 897-5016.

The plan right now is to resume classes as normal on Monday morning (August 19, 2019). Beyond what has been posted, reported or stated, our number one priority is the safety and welfare of our students and staff. The Coffee County School Board, Coffee County School’s administration and staff will always put student safety first.

Kevin Killingsworth, Coffee County Schools Superintendent

ORIGINAL REPORT:

NEW BROCKTON, Ala. (WDHN) — New Brockton Schools confirmed Friday morning that another four students were found with elevated levels of carbon monoxide.

This means that eight high school students in total were taken to the emergency room with symptoms of possible carbon monoxide poisoning, but the school system doesn’t know why.

According to an official release, four students showed signs of what appeared to be heat stress in gym class. The students reportedly had headaches, dizziness and nausea.

“As a precaution they were transported to Enterprise Medical Center where it was discovered they had elevated levels (of) carbon monoxide,” the release states.

The school then evacuated all of its students and did a sweep of the campus. However, they found no signs of where the CO gas was coming from.

This wasn’t the end, however, since four more students showed up to the emergency room with higher carbon monoxide levels as well.

“At that time we completed a second sweep of the school again with negative results,” the release states.

Friday morning, they conducted a third sweep and, as of the latest information, are now testing the buses for carbon monoxide leaks. So far, the school system said it does not believe the chemical exposure happened at the school, but they will release updates if they do find a source.

“We have invited Alabama Department of Public Health to help us complete interviews with students and parents to see if we can find a commonality between these affected students,” the release states. “If any parent or student shows signs of dizziness, nausea, and headache please contact your health authority and inform the school.”

The high school also made several statements on Facebook regarding the situation.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, carbon monoxide exposure can come from many sources, including poorly maintained heating machinery or blocked exhaust vents.

Initial symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, vomiting and nausea — the symptoms students first showed in the gymnasium.

Once a person reaches a critical level of exposure, they may then pass out or even die.

Exposure to CO at even moderate levels for long periods of time can lead to heart disease later on. Some cases of CO poisoning can leave other permanent marks on a person’s health.

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