Friday, May 29, 2009

Superintendent Apparently Harrassed Over H1N1 Scare. Poor Guy.

When you live in an upscale suburb, you get to know how the parents can be. Let's just say, I wouldn't want to be a teacher in my town. The "catch more flies with honey" strategy isn't a popular one. The "I'll sue your ass!" strategy definitely has more takers around here.

So...I can't say I was surprised when I got this email last night from the Superintendent of Schools. You'll recall he sent out an initial email yesterday announcing a single case of swine flu.  Another email, confirming that yes, in fact, it was just ONE case followed shortly. And then, God bless him, he sent this out last night: 

Dear Parents/Guardians:

Many parents/guardians have contacted my office and the schools seeking additional information regarding the student who has been diagnosed with H1N1 influenza and the risk to students throughout the district. More specifically, an e-mail is being circulated amongst the parent community claiming many more H1N1 influenza cases and I feel it is critical that I address the concerns contained within that e-mail.

As stated before, and confirmed by the <> Health Department, only one child within all of our schools has been diagnosed and confirmed with the H1N1 influenza virus. This student, along with other students in our secondary schools, attended a religious retreat over the Memorial Day weekend. It was learned Thursday evening, from parents of other students who attended the same religious retreat, that other students have subsequently experienced flu-like symptoms. As of this e-mail, we have heard from one other parent whose children are being tested for H1N1 influenza after one of their children tested positive for Type A influenza. The results of that test, for H1N1, are not available.

H1N1 influenza is a Type A strain of influenza and it is estimated that there is a 75% chance Type A influenza will test positive as H1N1 influenza. Flu-like symptoms include fever, headache, exhaustion, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, and stomach ailments such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

To date, neither the Health Department, the Department of Health and Senior Services, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend school closures. It is important to remember that unless we all remain in our homes, there is no sure way to prevent transmission. We are all susceptible by going to the mall, a restaurant, a movie theatre, a youth retreat or other public place. There is no definitive information that school closure prevents the spread of H1N1 influenza.

Health professionals are learning more about H1N1 influenza every day, and most believe that the longest survival rate of the virus on any surface is eight hours or less. This means that H1N1 influenza virus cannot survive overnight in any building or in any of our schools.

If your child develops flu-like symptoms you should contact your primary care physician and your school nurse. If your child is symptomatic, you should keep them and their siblings home from school. I encourage all of us to exercise proper hygiene and most importantly washing our hands. It is important that this is reiterated to your children at home. It will help reinforce what they are learning in school.

It is has not been recommended, by local and State health officials, that we close our schools. Public Schools remains vigilant in ensuring the safety of our students. We will continue to monitor and assess any abnormal absentee rates and keep you apprised of any important information. We will continue to evaluate and be diligent with regard to possible cases of H1N1 influenza. Rumors regarding students exhibiting flu-like symptoms must be confirmed and I encourage you to contact your child's school nurse if you feel you have information about a student/family that is not being reported.

Rather than frequent e-mails regarding this issue, we will be updating our website,, with any other information regarding our schools and H1N1 influenza.


Superintendent of Schools

Think the guy was harrassed much yesterday? Sheesh!

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