EAST ELMHURST — A local high school will be the first in the country to teach a science module on infectious diseases, inspired by a local boy who died of sepsis in 2012.
Ann Smith, a science teacher at Monsignor McClancy Memorial High School on 31st Avenue, started working on the module after attending the funeral Mass for Rory Staunton, who lived in Sunnyside and went to school nearby in Jackson Heights.
Staunton, 12, cut his arm diving for a basketball in gym class at The Garden School and died three days later from sepsis.
His parents, Ciaran and Orlaith, started the Rory Staunton Foundation to educate the public about sepsis — a common and deadly disease they didn't know about before their son died.
For Smith, she saw the effect Staunton's death had on many of her students and found a teaching opportunity, the foundation said.
"After hearing Rory’s story, I realized that students in my classes were emotionally impacted by his death I wanted to help them understand what happened to Rory,” she said in a press release.
The curriculum complies with Common Core standards, the AP biology curriculum, Centers for Disease Control National Health Education Standards and other criteria.
It's also been supported by Dr. Martin Dorfler, Senior Vice President of Clinical Strategy and Development, North Shore-LIJ Health System.
In class, students will learn about sepsis and other infectious diseases, how they can be prevented, diagnosed and treated.
The foundation's goal is to expand the curriculum so people understand the dangers of this disease.
"Our goal is to implement the new education module in school districts across the country to educate a new generation to understand sepsis, its symptoms, and treatment so that young people no longer die through lack of awareness of the condition," Orlaith Staunton said.