By Devin Corbitt
The Belton Journal
While much of the Central Texas area is abuzz worrying about the possibility of the Ebola virus appearing in Belton, residents of this tightly-knit community are focusing on something much bigger: protecting their own.
Since learning of a local family’s possible exposure to the Ebola virus during their travels on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 on Oct. 10, Belton has come together in a tremendous effort to keep both the family and their identity safe.
“It’s remarkable that the media hasn’t discovered or printed the family’s name,” Paul Romer, Public Information Officer for the city, said. “It’s a testament to this close-knit community.”
Both the county and the Belton Independent School District have taken great lengths to protect the family and ensure the safety of the community at large.
BISD closed the two schools that the family’s children attend, Sparta Elementary School and North Belton Middle School, as well as the Belton Early Childhood School on Thursday and Friday to be cleaned and disinfected from top to bottom. The district hired CG Environmental, a hazardous materials cleanup company that also handled the hospital and apartment cleanups in Dallas following the first case of Ebola in Texas.
“The school district was so open and honest from the beginning. They did a fantastic job in a very difficult situation,” Romer said. “This is the model for how you should handle something of this magnitude. I don’t think people appreciate what is like to try to find out what is going on and trying to keep people informed.”
A source from Fort Hood told the Journal that the best way to protect yourself and your family is by simply washing and sanitizing your hands. Antibacterial handsoaps and alcohol will kill the virus, which helps ensure that it does not find its way into the body.
The family has asked that any financial donations for them be given to the charity of the donor’s choice instead.
For more information on the Ebola virus, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html.