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Maine teacher on leave over Ebola worry

Parents express concern after trip

A Maine elementary school teacher was put on paid leave for up to 21 days, after parents expressed concerns that she could have been exposed to Ebola during a recent trip to Dallas, Maine School Administrative District #58 announced.

“At this time, we have no information to suggest that this staff member has been in contact with anyone who has been exposed to Ebola. However, the District and the staff members understand the parents’ concerns,” the district said in a statement.

The Portland Press Herald reported the teacher at Strong Elementary School attended an educators’ conference about 10 miles from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where Thomas Eric Duncan died of Ebola and two nurses contracted the disease.


Several school board members declined the Globe’s requests for comment Saturday. The school is in the town of Strong, about 80 miles west of Bangor.

While not commenting specifically on the Maine case, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesman Llelwyn Grant said, “The CDC is not recommending academic institutions base their decisions on travel history alone.” He added that the likelihood of contracting Ebola in circumstances like the Maine teacher’s was remote.

“You can’t get Ebola by simply touching an individual who has it, or for that matter just being in the state in which Ebola has been reported,” said Grant.

“So for an individual who has had no contact with a person with Ebola, there’s zero risk for something like that to happen.”

Grant said Ebola can only be passed from person to person during close, prolonged contact.

“I know that people are concerned and rightfully so,” he said. “It’s a pretty wicked virus. . . . We are encouraging folks at this time to educate themselves about the virus and its symptoms.”