Sacred Heart-Griffin High School is responding to public concerns after two dozen students fell ill at an outdoor Mass on Monday.
Sr. Katherine O’Connor, head of the school’s board of directors, said SHG took proper precautions.
“We had emergency personnel and cooling stations available,” O’Connor told Bob Murray on Tuesday’s Morning Newswatch. ”
There was a rain date in place, but O’Connor says there wasn’t a heat advisory in place at that time so the event went on as planned. As for parents who didn’t hear from the school when their child fell ill, O’Connor said parents were notified if their children were sent home or had to go to the hospital.
“If they simply needed cooling, we didn’t notify those parents,” said O’Connor. “As I say, it was very hard in the moment to separate those that really needed attention and those who were coming out to get some cool air and [a] drink of water.”
Sixteen students were hospitalized Monday after passing out at the outdoor Mass, held at Sacred Heart Griffin’s football stadium on the school’s west campus. Students in grades 3 through 8 from all of Springfield’s Catholic schools, plus all faculty staff and students from Sacred Heart-Griffin, were in attendance.
O’Connor said the Mass, which aimed to bring the city’s Catholic school students together to pray for a successful school year, is not a yearly event and took years to plan. Several students and parents alike told WTAX students were not allowed to bring their own water to the service, but O’Connor couldn’t confirm that assertion.
Photo courtesy Sacred Heart-Griffin Facebook page