November 26, 2007

NYSUT training offers the facts on MRSA 'superbug'

Source: NYSUT News Wire

Recent reports of drug-resistant bacterial infections in schools have members statewide concerned, and NYSUT is responding with a new training program and informational CD through its Education & Learning Trust.

There has been widespread media coverage of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus  - MRSA - a type of bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics and has been dubbed the "superbug."

The United Federation of Teachers, NYSUT's affilliate in New York City public schools, reported that a seventh-grade student in Brooklyn died in mid-October, and several more have been diagnosed in city schools. In Syracuse, nurses are on "high surveillance" after several confirmed cases of MRSA, according to school nurse Ann O'Hara, a member of the Syracuse Teachers Association and NYSUT's Health Care Professionals Council.

ELT, the professional development arm of NYSUT, has developed an on-site workshop titled "Living with MRSA in our schools and communities." The one-hour session can be conveniently delivered before or after school, or during faculty meetings. Appropriate for school employees, parents and community members, the ELT workshop addresses facts and misconceptions about MRSA, while shedding light on who is vulnerable, how MRSA is transmitted and what precautionary measures schools can implement.

For unions or school districts that can not schedule a full training program - or that want to conduct their own training - ELT is selling an informational CD on MRSA. The CD, available for $50, offers a PowerPoint presentation; facilitator guide; suggested activities; materials list; handouts; and reference list.

The training program and CD were developed by NYSUT Board member Pat Weinwurm of the Johnson City Education Association, and Judith Wolf of the Endicott Teachers Association. Weinwurm has been a school nurse in the Southern Tier for more than two decades. Wolf is head nurse for Union-Endicott schools, near Binghamton, and a registered nurse at Lourdes Hospital, which has treated several MRSA cases. NYSUT's Health Care Professionals Council reviewed the curriculum for the training program and CD and offered advice during their development.

"School employees and community members need a forum where they can ask questions and get the facts about MRSA," said Chari Leader, ELT manager. "NYSUT is pleased that it was able to draw on the extensive experience of its health care members to offer this new training opportunity."

If you are interested in having ELT's MRSA workshop brought to your school, contact your local union president. To order a CD, contact ELT at (800) 528-6208.