Student Well-Being

Federal File

December 05, 2001 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Taking Precautions

The discovery of trace amounts of anthrax bacteria in the mailroom at the Department of Education’s headquarters prompted the temporary shutdown of all the agency’s mail facilities in Washington.

The contamination has not led to any significant disruption of agency activities or any known cases of the potentially deadly illness, officials say.

Department officials were notified Nov. 20 that a security sweep of the mailroom at the department’s main building turned up “positive traces in three of approximately 20 samples,” said Dan Langan, a spokesman for Secretary of Education Rod Paige. But they were deemed “low level” and not dangerous to mailroom workers or other department employees, he said.

No anthrax bacteria were found at the six other Education Department mailrooms in buildings in Washington.

As a precaution, though, all the mailrooms were closed temporarily so they could be thoroughly cleansed of any potential anthrax contamination, Mr. Langan said. The mailroom cleanup was expected to be completed late last week, he said, and the mailroom reopened by Dec. 3.

In the meantime, a separate room at the headquarters building on Maryland Avenue S.W. was set up to receive and distribute regular mail, as well as parcels from couriers and other delivery services.

Mr. Langan said last week that there had been “no notable disruption” in the department’s ability to work with states and school districts. He noted that for several weeks all mail to the department has been irradiated at a postal facility in Lima, Ohio. The same is true for other federal agencies, Congress, and the White House.

Mail-borne anthrax contamination was discovered on Capitol Hill in October. Since then, other incidences of such contamination have been reported in Washington.

Two employees of a U.S. Postal Service processing facility for the Washington area died of anthrax.

—Erik W. Robelen

A version of this article appeared in the December 05, 2001 edition of Education Week


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Data Webinar
Education Insights with Actionable Data to Create More Personalized Engagement
The world has changed during this time of pandemic learning, and there is a new challenge faced in education regarding how we effectively utilize the data now available to educators and leaders. In this session
Content provided by Microsoft
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Accelerate Learning with Project-Based Learning
Earlier this year, the George Lucas Educational Foundation released four new studies highlighting how project-based learning (PBL) helps accelerate student learning—across age groups, multiple disciplines, and different socio-economic statuses. With this year’s emphasis on unfinished
Content provided by SmartLab Learning
School & District Management Live Online Discussion Principal Overload: How to Manage Anxiety, Stress, and Tough Decisions
According to recent surveys, more than 40 percent of principals are considering leaving their jobs. With the pandemic, running a school building has become even more complicated, and principals' workloads continue to grow. If we

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being Research Center Reports Student Engagement During the Pandemic: Results of a National Survey
This report examines students' school engagement during the pandemic based on survey results from students and teachers.
Student Well-Being Students With Depression, Anxiety May Qualify for Accommodations, Feds Tell Schools
As COVID fuels concerns, the Education and Justice departments detailed schools' obligations to students with mental health conditions.
3 min read
Student writes a note for "HELP" on her schoolwork
Student Well-Being Research Center Reports Student and Teacher Views of Social-Emotional Learning: Results of a National Survey
This report provides a snapshot of students' mental well-being and confidence in their SEL skills during the pandemic.
Student Well-Being From Our Research Center How to Teach Older Students Social-Emotional Skills? Try Civics
Collaboration, empathy, social awareness, and relationship building are some of the same skills that power democracy.
9 min read
Conceptual image of 3 students working on constructing a government building together.
Mary Haasdyk for Education Week