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Closing Swine Flu Hit Schools

With the potential for a major outbreak of swine flu
in the months ahead school districts may have to
decide if they should stay open or shut down.

Rod Rice reports that HISD says the guidelines for
closing have changed this year.


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HISD uses the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for closing schools due to illness according to Evelyn Henry, the district’s director for health and medical services.

“The school closure recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and our local health department have changed for this year.  It’s because we have learned more about the flu, and the decision to close the school is going to be based really on the ability of the school to carry on its essential function.”

Last year some schools were closed to stop the spread of the H1N1 virus, but now health authorities know that a person can spread the virus for up to five days before they show signs of it, so closing down once it breaks out does not have the desired impact.

A swine flu vaccine isn’t expected until October and perhaps as late as Thanksgiving.  Henry says when it’s available HISD will help get people vaccinated.

“We are going to support their efforts to have our children vaccinated and be safe, and we’re in talks daily with the city health department who is arranging that for the city of Houston and I’m sure we are going to be a part of that plan.”

Federal health officials say 30-50 percent of the population could get swine flu in the coming months.

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