MTSU buses halted as drivers screened for meningitis - WSMV News 4

MTSU buses halted as drivers screened for meningitis

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Shuttle buses at Middle Tennessee State University are rolling once again after temporarily being parked. Some students said didn't get the message about bus service and were late for class. It was all because of possible meningitis scare.

Drivers became concerned when a student died from bacterial meningitis, and after a fellow off-duty bus driver was taken to the hospital for respiratory problems. Those drivers were allowed to visit health services on campus to be tested.

Students who normally catch the bus on campus had to walk or hitch another ride to class.

"A lot of students ride the bus throughout the day so if somebody did have it (meningitis), it would have spread fast," student Katy Bishop said.

Seven MTSU Raider Xpress buses were parked while drivers visited health services on campus. The drivers became concerned after hearing a fellow bus driver was taken to the hospital.

"In light of Monday's incident with the death of a student, out of an abundance of caution the university allowed those drivers to come in and to be screened to see if they needed the antibiotic," said Jimmy Hart, MTSU Public Affairs Director.

Some students said they were alerted by email this morning that bus service would be interrupted. Some said it was an inconvenience, while others said they understood, and it's better to be safe than sorry.

In a statement, a university spokesman said:

"The Office of the Provost, our chief academic officer, is advising faculty to be understanding of any complications that may have arose from this morning's interruption of bus service. The provost has not received any complaints as of this afternoon."

"For our safety, that's something they should have done," student Rontez Clark said. "A lot of people might have been upset, but I feel like it's for the students' safety, as well as the bus drivers' safety."

Some students claimed they didn't get the email alert.

"It was very hectic," student Charles Barnes said. "I was on Twitter that's how I found out about it and people were criticizing it saying it (buses) was slow."

Since the sudden death of student Jacob Nunley, more than 1,200 students have been seen by campus health officials. Hundreds of students were given an antibiotic pill as a precaution. Nunley died early Monday morning from complications of meningitis.

"A lot of students have been paranoid," Clark said.

"My roommate was sick yesterday, and we were both scared that she had it," Bishop said.

A meningitis vaccine is now available after multiple requests from students.

"Health Services now has the vaccine available for students who would like to get vaccinated for meningitis," Hart said. "That is unrelated to this recent incident where the antibiotic pill was available. The vaccine is available for $100."

Only about 100 students visited health services Wednesday to be screened for meningitis. MTSU health officials said the primary risk is those students who had close or direct contact with Nunley. They encourage them to be screened as soon as possible.

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