Classes resume at Coral Reef after meningitis death

Student died of bacterial meningitis last week

Miami-Dade health officials are getting out information to make sure everyone is ready for the start of classes Monday, after a student died from bacterial meningitis.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A Coral Reef High School student died on Friday, and now an investigation is under way to find out who came into close contact with that student, 18-year-old Christopher Valdez.

On Sunday, health officials met with parents and students who were concerned about bacterial meningitis.

"A child lost his life," said Kay Heiden.

With tears in her eyes, Kay Heiden drove to Coral Reef High School to attend an emergency meeting with staff and with the Health Department.

"I have two children who got to school here. My son was in the child's classroom," said Heiden.

This determined mother wants to make sure her son and daughter don't end up like their classmate.

"I just want to make sure they're going sanitize the school, that they're protecting children," Heiden said.

Valdez, a senior at the school, started feeling sick on Wednesday. On Thursday he went to an urgent care and received antibiotics. By Friday he was in the emergency room, diagnosed with meningitis. An hour later the 18-year-old was dead.

"He was friends with my son. How are they dealing with this right now? He's having a hard time," Heiden said.

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On Sunday morning, school officials would not let Local 10 into the meeting with parents, but many of them voiced their opinions on their way in.

"I'm a nurse so I want to see what measures have been done at the school, you know, what their plans are," said Caroline Wagner, who attended the meeting.

"I'm concerned because they're not closing the school down, they're not doing anything like that," Heiden said.

They are afraid because bacterial meningitis is contagious and because school is opening again Monday.

"Some of the kids could be infected and not know it."

School officials are encouraging students and parents know the symptoms of bacterial meningitis which are: fever, headache, stiff neck, and vomiting, and to speak up if anyone starts feeling sick.

In a statement the school district says all necessary measures will be taken Monday morning to safeguard the health of students at school.