Apr 30, 2009 Doug Campbell Uncategorized
Cazenovia Superintendent Robert Dubik sent a letter to parents April 29 informing them that New York state has entered a heightened surveillance stage because of the recent spread of the swine flu virus.
“Although, to date, only mild illness has occurred in the United States, we realize that many people are worried and we hope this letter will help address your concerns,” Dubik said. “Despite confirmed cases of swine flu in a private school in Queens, New York City, we believe students can safely attend classes and schools will remain open at this time (with the exception of the school in Queens at which confirmed cases were discovered).”
Dubik said that state and local health departments have said that students can continue to come to school as long as they are not exhibiting flu symptoms. Flu-like symptoms include a fever of over 100 degrees, feverishness, cough, sore throat, runny nose or stuffy nose. Additional symptoms may be experienced with swine flu, including muscle pain, fatigue and sometimes vomiting or diarrhea.
“Flu spreads easily. If you suspect your child is getting the flu, it is important that he/she does not attend school or go anywhere else–such as group childcare, the mall, or sporting events–where other people would be exposed to flu germs,” Dubik said.
While school closure is not currently necessary, schools could close if the disease spreads.
“If swine flu continues to spread and more students become ill, it may become necessary to close schools for a period of time,” Dubik said. “We will inform parents immediately if the situation changes and it becomes necessary to close schools.”
Dubik urged parents to stay informed through the media and sources like cdc.gov, nyhealth.gov, schoolhealthservicesny.com or a 24 hour toll-free hotline, 1-800-808-1987.
Dubik listed several important ways to reduce the risk of flu and to protect others from infection:
– Teach your children to wash their hands often. Washing with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds is ideal (that’s about as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice).
– Teach your children the proper use of hand sanitizer. Gels, rubs, and hand wipes all work well, as long as they contain at least 60% alcohol. Hand wipes must be disposed of properly. Always read and follow label instructions when using hand sanitizer.
– Teach your children to keep their hands away from their face and avoid touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.
– Teach your children to cover coughs and sneezes with tissues or by coughing into the inside of their elbow. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve–not your hands!
– Help your children to learn these healthy habits by setting a good example and always doing them yourself.