When a student at PS 101 was recently diagnosed with the feared “supervirus,” a notable event happened in our small corner of Brooklyn — communication.
It was fast as it was efficient: the parents of the infected student learned of their kid’s diagnosis of MRSA, a “superbug” resistant to most drugs, on Oct. 26 and soon after informed the school’s administration, who quickly passed the knowledge along to the city’s Department of Health and the rest of the school’s parents. It all happened within 48 hours.
Principal Greg Korrol should receive a standing ovation for the profound lack of noise — as in the absence of panic, public outcries, or rioting parents that followed the news.
Sounds easy, right? Well, apparently not. The rest of Brooklyn should take notes from how Bensonhurst handled this threat to public safety and it begins and ends with an environment of trust.
By contrast, in Canarsie, the Health Department knew that PS 211 seventh grader Omar Rivera had died of the virus more than five full days before parents were informed. No one can ever be certain of anyone’s intentions, but the move did more than anger a lot of people. It also exposed something about the relationship between the school and the community best described by one pol with a knack for clever one-liners.
“What did they know and when did they know it?” asked Councilman Charles Barron (D–Canarsie).
Rhetoric aside, the actual threat to schools appears to be miniscule. The Health Department says the vast majority of serious cases occur in hospital settings, and that healthy people are likely to heal on their own or with little treatment. Better yet, officials are reporting that the Bensonhurst student is on the road to a fast recovery.
In the aftermath of the Canarsie debacle, local schools are now taking common-sense precautions, like at Coney Island’s IS 239, where the PA system frequently reminds kids to wash their hands.
Of course, washing hands, keeping cuts clean, and avoiding too much skin-to-skin contact with sick people is a good idea no matter what viruses are floating around, but in any crisis (or potential crisis), the most-effective weapon is the free exchange of information, which only happen in an environment of trust among parents, students, and the administration.
Matthew Lysiak is a freelance writer who lives in Bay Ridge.
The Kitchen Sink
A big thanks to Mrs. Lauren’s pre-K class at DGK Holy Cross School, located at 8502 Ridge Blvd., for welcoming The Sink in to her class to speak about the exciting life of a reporter as part of the school’s career day. Favorite question: Do you get to speak to firemen? …
Ladies be on the lookout! Last Friday a woman on the Bay Ridge Parents message board reported a flasher struck while she was waiting for the B16 at 92nd and Shore Road. …
To the nice cashier at Associated Market, at 7918 Third Ave., please refrain from wiping your runny nose with your sleeve before handling our spy’s produce. …
Where is WABC radio host Curtis Sliwa going after the news that he is being replaced by Don Imus? To Bay Ridge, of course! Sliwa will be the guest speaker on Nov. 14 at the Young Republicans meeting at Peggy O’Neill’s on Fifth Avenue between 81st and 82nd streets at 7:30. …Ã‚Â
Our pal Dolores Keeler wants you — but only if you’re a graduate of Bay Ridge High School, the center of learning now known as the High School of Telecommunication Arts & Technology. Keeler is trying to revive the Alumni Association, so if you fit the bill, call Anna at (718) 837-1807. …Ã‚Â
Our friends at the Rankin-Healey VFW, on Fourth Avenue near 93rd Street, had an awesome Oktoberfest. Making the scene were Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny and Councilman Vincent Gentile. Our spy sent us photos, but they were all blurry — an indication that everyone had a great time.