Thu, May 08, 2003 - Page 1 News List

TAS closes doors for school year after teacher becomes ill

By Diane Baker and Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Taipei American School (TAS) closed its campus and ended its academic year early yesterday after a teacher fell ill and was listed as a reported severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) case.

The entire teaching staff and administration, the 16 students in the ill teacher's class and some staff members were put into 14-day home quarantine yesterday by the Taipei City Bureau of Health.

All of the teachers were affected by the order because they had attended a staff meeting in the school auditorium on Monday.

According to a message from TAS superintendent Mark Ulfers posted on the school's Web site, the campus would be closed until Sunday to allow for disinfection.

He said the school board and administration had decided to end the academic year early because after the mandatory 14-day quarantine period was over there would only be 14 more days left.

"Given the current climate of uncertainty" surrounding SARS, he wrote, it would be in the best interest of the school community to finish early.

The rest of the school's estimated 2,200 students have not been put into quarantine, according to a source close to the school.

The teacher developed a fever after school on Monday, stayed at home Tuesday and went to Shin Kuang Hospital in Shihlin District yesterday morning, according to information on the Web site and city health officials.

Late last night, Cabinet spokesman Lin Chian-lung (林佳龍) told reporters that the teacher's test results were negative for SARS but that she would be retested.

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