At last night’s board meeting a couple parents of a Tournament Hills Elementary student expressed concern about students in their child’s class with suspected cases of H1N1 Flu. They wanted to know what the district’s policy was concerning parent notification and what they should do as parents. They understood the importance of keeping kids in school but didn’t understand why Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) and Scabies, a highly contagious skin infection warranted immediate parent notification but H1N1 Flu doesn’t.
Becky Salato, the district’s Director of Special Education, explained the district was in close communication with the county health department and that they “are working closely with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Riverside County Public Health Department to monitor flu conditions.” Mrs. Salato has posted a copy of a letter to be sent to parents to explain the district’s position and to let parents know what they can do to help. Here is a link to that letter http://www.beaumontusd.k12.ca.us/info%5Cpress%5CFlu_Memo.pdf. The letter directs parents to the government’s site www.flu.gov and the CDC information line, 1-800-CDC-INFO.
Schools are advised against early notification because the advantages to keeping kids home are outweighed by the disadvantages. The county health department advises against pre-epidemic notification to avoid creating a panic among parents. My first response was similar to the parents’ comments about Pink Eye and Scabies.
I began researching this and found some more useful CDC links regarding H1N1 and how schools should prepare for the flu season. I now understand the position of the health department and the school district and I know the district will continue to monitor the situation. The county provides up to date Infection Statistics on their H1N1 page http://www.rivcoph.org/h1n1/ to help you also monitor the Swine Flu.
Here are some other useful links:
Center for Disease Control (CDC) -
- http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/parents/ - H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu): Resources for Parents and Caregivers
- http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/schools/toolkit/actionsteps.htm - Action Steps for Schools to Prevent the Spread of Flu
- http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/schools/toolkit/ - Preparing for the Flu: A Communication Toolkit for Schools (Grades K-12)
- http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/qa.htm - Questions & Answers 2009 H1N1 Flu ("Swine Flu") and You
- http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/schools/toolkit/parentfactsheet.htm - Action Steps for Parents if School is Dismissed or Children are Sick and Must Stay Home
Riverside County Department of Public Health –
- http://www.rivcoph.org/ph_pdf/School_Guidance_4-30-09.pdf - Swine Flu Guidance for Schools
- http://www.rivcoph.org/ph_pdf/DaycareGuidance5-01-09.pdf - Swine Flu Guidance for Childcare Facilities
- http://www.rivco-familycarecenters.org/banning.htm - Banning Family Care Center – County Clinic