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Aurora mom concerned about school's response to tuberculosis exposure

School says parents were told about exposure
aurora hills middle school.jpg
Posted at 9:59 PM, Mar 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-07 20:15:55-05

AURORA, Colo. -- A mother whose son tested positive for tuberculosis says Aurora Hills Middle School didn’t handle the exposure or communicate to parents correctly.

In January, health officials started testing students and staff after learning about a possible exposure to the disease in the fall. The first round of testing found no one was infected. But the second round found several students and staff were positive for TB.

"That's my only child. If something happens to him because of a possible outbreak and I'm not notified properly then what am I expected to do? How am I expected to feel?” Sharmin Hicks said. “I just feel that APS needs a better system, they need to be more proactive with these things."

Hicks told Denver7 doctors said her son is not contagious just like the other students testing positive for TB because the disease is in its very early stages. He will have to take medicine for the next ten weeks.

When Hicks learned her son was positive, she checked him out of school right away to take him to the tuberculosis clinic, but said she felt the school was dismissive of her concerns.

"The school's not saying anything, not advising anything. It was nothing -- there was no apology; it was just kind of like, 'don't worry about it,'" Hicks said.

Tuberculosis is a highly contagious bacterial disease that is spread through the air. It can be deadly if not treated. Those who test positive for TB may not be sick with the disease yet and are not contagious.

On Thursday, the district told Denver7 it reached out to parents through phone calls and emails on January 16 for the first round of testing. On February 27, parents were notified via phone calls, emails and a physical mailer, according to the district. Four town hall meetings about the exposure were held on January 17, 22, February 28 and March 4.

On February 27, the district posted a message to parents on its website detailing testing of people exposed to tuberculosis during the Fall:

Denver Public Health in collaboration with Tri-County Health Department, Aurora Public Schools, and Aurora Hills Middle School has been testing people who were exposed to tuberculosis (TB) during the fall semester. Initial testing in January did not show that anyone got infected with TB at the school. However, repeat testing last week of the same people who were exposed showed that some have been infected, but none of them are sick. Because of these new test results, we will be testing all students and staff who were at Aurora Hills Middle School during the fall semester.