There have been more people with mumps in the Cedar Hill Independent School District than the number of people who attended a forum Tuesday night about the mumps problem.
"Come ask questions so you can be informed," pleaded parent, Shana Gardner, to those who did not attend. "Do your research so you're not just falling for the okie-doke."
Dallas County Health and Human Services reported 64 related mumps cases among staff and students in the Cedar Hill ISD since the first case was reported Feb. 9.
"Mumps is a sneaky virus," explained Dr. Mike Marshall, a pediatrician who has been consulting with the school district. "So it's transmitted very easily."
Mumps is an airborne virus. People are contagious before they have symptoms, making it difficult to stop the spread. Marshall said vaccines and hand-washing are the best prevention.
"Did we do it right the first time in putting information out the first time? We didn't," admitted Cedar Hill ISD Superintendent Orlando Riddick. "We're not the epicenter for the mumps!"
Riddick assured the two dozen people who came to the forum that the district was doing what it could to try to stop the spread of mumps.
"One thing I am not going to do is be fearful of something that I can help mitigate and control," Riddick said. "There's a lot of disruptions in the world right now, and mumps are not going to stop our kids."
Some parents expressed concern that the school might not be doing enough.
"We were just told that it was too much money to have a company come in and clean, and I was left with the impression that no cleaning was being done," Gardner said to the panel.
"We are cleaning rooms," Riddick replied. "And that process started early on."
"You say 'Cedar Hill,' (and) people don't want to be around you," said Anna Green, who serves as PTSA president. "Our kids are like laughing stocks when they go to other competitions because it's in the media. Everybody knows. We've made national news!"
The school district is waiting for confirmation on a new probable mumps case. Cedar Hill ISD has offered two vaccine clinics already, and it plans to offer a third one.