1910: Infant Paralysis Closes the Public Schools

Board of Education in Middletown, Conn., Forced to Take Action, Despite Advice of Physicians.


Students Die, and If Those Now Ill of the Disease Recover It Is Feared That They Will Be Cripples For Life.

Middletown, Conn., Sept. 23.–Opposing the action of local physicians, who at a meeting yesterday advised against closing the city schools, the local Board of Education at a special meeting this afternoon voted unanimously to close the schools until further notice. This action was the result of the widespread alarm in the community over the prevalence of infantile paralysis.

Despite the efforts of physicians and others to allay the fears of parents and children, twenty-five per cent of the pupils in the city schools failed to put in an appearance at the school sessions today. Many parents sent their children out of the city.

Officers of the North Congregational Church, who were to hold a big Sunday school rally this week, decided to call off all meetings. The school buildings are to be fumigated and arrangements are being made to [improve] conditions at the Middletown High School, where the pupils have been obliged to use a common towel, drink from a common drinking cup and use unsanitary plumbing arrangements.

Two girls students at the high school, both members of the senior class, died and a child of W. S. McIntyde, assistant principal of the school, was stricken with the disease. Four new patients were reported today. Physicians say that some of the patients, should they recover, will be cripples for life.

In an effort to quiet the fears of residents a statement was issued by the local and county health officers today in which it was said that in the opinion of experts the disease is not contagious.

From the Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, Arizona), Saturday, September 24, 1910.



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