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Fentanyl decontamination process continues at Hartford magnet school

School officials said Monday that one sample in one room came back with a detectable level of fentanyl after a deadly overdose.

HARTFORD, Conn. — The Sport and Medical Sciences Academy (SMSA) will remain closed on Tuesday as fentanyl decontamination continues, the Hartford Public Schools' superintendent said Monday.

"One wipe sample, in one room, came back with a detectable level of fentanyl. The detectable level in this one room was 0.12 (the detectable reporting limit is 0.10). All other areas tested found no detectable levels," Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez said in a letter to families.

The room will be decontaminated again and another wipe sample will be conducted Monday night. Officials expect to have the results by Tuesday afternoon. The decontamination process will repeat until no fentanyl is detected.

RELATED: Hartford considering expanded Narcan access in the wake of teen's fatal fentanyl overdose

Monday evening, during a private and virtual meeting, families were given an update on the re-opening process. That process also involves support for students.

"Those emotional supports for kids aren't going to stop when the school reopens, this is going to be an ongoing conversation," said Dr. Melissa Santos, chief of Pediatric Psychology at Connecticut Children’s. She was among the speakers in the meeting. She encouraged parents to have open conversations with their children about both grief and substance abuse.

"I think the more that we create opportunities for our kids to feel comfortable coming to us, that we're going to listen that we're not going to try to fix, we're not going to tell them they're in trouble, the more it creates opportunities that our kids are more willing to come to us in the future," said Santos. "Talking about substances isn't going to encourage kids to engage in substances," she said.

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Breaking the stigma is also a priority for those who are pushing for Narcan to be widely available in schools.

"It doesn't promote use, you know if people have it, it doesn't make them use more or more recklessly. This is strictly in case of emergency," said Mark Jenkins, executive director of The Connecticut Harm Reduction Alliance (CHRA).

CHRA will be part of a task force the Hartford City Council plans to launch to create an education and prevention plan.

"Awareness and training for everyone. There's a lot of incorrect information out there so we really need to get the right information out," said council president, Maly Rosado.

RELATED: Testing delayed at Sports and Medical Sciences Academy in Hartford following student death

Officials also want to give the school, and the community the time and space to heal.

"We're looking at this tragedy that's almost too enormous and too heartbreaking for us to have good words for us to talk about," said councilman Joshua Michtom.

A 13-year-old SMSA student overdosed after coming in contact with fentanyl during school last Thursday and died in the hospital on Saturday. Two other students were taken to the hospital after complaints of dizziness but were later released.

Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at gmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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