Hartford School Reopened Wednesday for First Time Since Student's Fentanyl Overdose

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The Sport and Medical Sciences Academy in Hartford reopened Wednesday for the first time since a student overdosed on fentanyl in the building last Thursday.

The school had been closed since that day to allow crews to clean the building, which was contaminated by fentanyl, school officials said.

There was a two-hour delayed opening Wednesday for students to allow teachers and staff to meet and prepare for the return of students, according to the school district.

Officials are prompting parents to have a discussion with their children about fentanyl after a fatal exposure at a Hartford school last week.

A 13-year-old student who was in grave condition because of an overdose died over the weekend, according to police.

Police said the teen suffered an overdose at the school Thursday and succumbed to his injuries Saturday evening around 5:30 p.m.

“Our city grieves for this child lost, for his loved ones, his friends, his teachers, and the entire SMSA family. We still have much to learn about the circumstances of this tragedy, and about how a child had access to such a shocking quantity of such deadly drugs, and our police department will continue their investigation and seek to hold accountable the adults who ultimately are responsible for this child’s death," Mayor Luke Bronin said in a statement.

Students will have access to therapy dogs and 14 school counselors and social workers. There will also be designated times where students can honor the student who passed away.

An officer will be there when students arrive and when they leave. The school also plans to implement random screenings of students' bookbags in the future.

New safety measures have also been announced.

Narcan will be supplied to all schools in the district in the near future and school nurses will go through training before the end of the week.

The city and school district are working together to expand mental health and wellness supports, as well as substance abuse and overdose prevention services for the school system and the community.

The Hartford Public Schools superintendent previously released a statement.

"I extend my heart and offer my deepest condolences to the student’s family, friends, and loved ones for their loss. I ask that everyone keep the family, friends, and the entire school community at SMSA in their thoughts and prayers," she said in part.

"This tragic loss will raise many emotions, concerns, and questions for our school community, especially our students. Our school and district Crisis Intervention Team has already been assembled and will continue to help with the needs of students, parents, and school personnel," she continued.

Two other students who came in contact with the substance have been released and are at home.

Hartford police are investigating after 40 bags of powdered Fentanyl was found in a school.

Investigators found 40 small bags of what was later determined to be fentanyl in powder form. The bags were found in two classrooms and the gymnasium.

“[Thursday] was a very challenging day, a hard day, a scary day for our school community at The Sport and Medical Sciences Academy and our entire Hartford Public Schools community,” Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, the superintendent of Hartford Public Schools, said.

Students were kept in lockdown. As they were dismissed, students had to ensure that their shoes were decontaminated in case they had been exposed.

Torres-Rodriguez said support services, in-person, and virtual, are being offered.

Police said they believe a student brought the bags of fentanyl into the school.

Officials said they are not releasing the teen's name at this time.

As leaders try to figure out how a deadly drug could end up in several children's classrooms, they say it's important to look at home life and make sure that caretakers outside of the building are standing in between their children and this kind of deadly harm.

"It's about getting the information out there, you know, and getting treatment programs available to people, and also for the parents to know for the signs and symptoms, but unfortunately, this is a multi-generational problem," said Tim Bombard of Connecticut Addiction Medicine.

Hartford Police said every division of the department is working to solve what happened on Thursday. They say the investigation remains very active.

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