Denver Area High School Closes After Deaths of Three Teachers – Causes of Death are Still Pending

This week, a high school in the Denver area was forced to close after the death of three teachers, USA Today reported.

After the deaths of 24-year-old Madelaine Michelle Schmidt and 63-year-old Judith Briere Geoffroy, authorities at Eaglecrest High School in Aurora canceled all after-school events and classes for Wednesday.

“It is with great sadness that we share with you that Judith Geoffroy, ILC para, and Maddie Schmidt, ILC teacher, both passed away in the last 24 hours,” the district released in a statement. “These tragic deaths appear to be of natural causes and are unrelated. We have shared these losses with our staff and will have the district mental health team available to assist them in coping with their grief.”

According to Arapahoe County Corner’s Office, Schmidt experienced symptoms of bacterial meningitis before her death.

Read the release below:

An individual at Eaglecrest High School has been diagnosed with Neisseria meningitidis, a bacterial infection of the blood that can cause meningitis. Meningitis is a serious infection involving the lining around the brain and spinal cord. The symptoms can include severe headache, stiff neck, fever, chills, sleepiness, rash, nausea, vomiting, and being disoriented.

The bacteria are in saliva and may be spread from person to person through sharing food, beverages, eating utensils, or by kissing. Being in the same room or standing near the infected person is not considered extended close contact or a risk factor for infection. Symptoms of Neisseria meningitidis can develop 1-10 days following extended close contact (most commonly within 3-4 days).

Arapaho County Public Health and Eaglecrest High School are identifying and contacting persons who have been in close contact with the individual. These persons will be directed to contact their health care providers regarding appropriate intervention to prevent the spread of, or development of, the disease. However, if your child has any of the above symptoms, please contact your doctor immediately and bring this letter with you to any appointments or medical visits.

Arapahoe County Corner’s Office also suggested that Judith Briere Geoffroy experienced symptoms of bacterial meningitis.

USA Today reported:

Another teacher who worked with Schmidt at the same school also died over the weekend, Kelly C. Lear, a pathologist with the Arapahoe County Coroner’s Office, confirmed.

Judith Geoffroy, a 63-year-old paraprofessional in the Integrated Learning Center, died but her official cause of death had not been confirmed according to a statement released Wednesday.

Lear said both the bodies of Geoffroy and Schmidt will undergo additional tests in the coming days.

“The causes of their deaths are pending ancillary testing; the presence or absence of bacterial meningitis will not be confirmed until those additional test results are final,” Lear wrote in the statement.

A third teacher in the school district also died over the weekend, but worked at a different school, Snell said.

Cherry Creek High School freshman baseball coach and Willow Creek Elementary Physical Education teacher Scott Nash passed away over the weekend.

“His death is an unrelated case and is not related to bacterial meningitis,” Snell said.

By Jim Hoft

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