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 All Schools Reopened and Swine Flu Closures No Longer Recommended For Single Cases

​All three local high schools closed because of the swine flu virus have been reopened, and health authorities no longer recommend closing a school for a single, confirmed case of the virus.

Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten, following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, wrote in a May 6 letter to parents of the three closed high schools, “On May 5, the Centers for disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised recommendations for school closures. As a result of this new guidance, previously closed schools were reopened on Wednesday, May 6, 2009.”

The three schools that were closed were Kearny High and the School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) in San Diego Unified School District, and Mission Hills High in the San Marcos Unified School District.

Wooten’s letter to the Kearny, SCPA and Mission Hills parents also stated: “School closure is not advised for a suspected or confirmed case of novel H1N1 (swine flu) and, in general, is not advised unless there is a magnitude of faculty or student absenteeism that interferes with the school’s ability to function. Schools that were closed based on previous interim CDC guidance related to this outbreak may reopen.

Wooten repeated the CDC recommendations for keeping children home when they’re sick:

• Students, faculty or staff with influenza-like illness (fever with a cough or sore throat) should stay home and not attend school or go into the community except to seek medical care for at least 7 days even if symptoms resolve sooner.

Students, faculty and staff who are still sick 7 days after they become ill should continue to stay home from school until at least 24 hours after symptoms have resolved.

• Students, faculty and staff who appear to have an influenza-like illness at arrival or become ill during the school day should be isolated promptly in a room separate from other students and sent home.

• Parents and guardians should monitor their school-aged children, and faculty and staff should self-monitor every morning for symptoms of influenza-like illness.

• Ill students staying home should not attend alternative child care or congregate in other settings.

• School administrators should communicate regularly with local public health officials to obtain guidance about reporting of influenza-like illnesses in the school.

• Schools can help serve as a focus for educational activities aimed at promoting ways to reduce the spread of influenza, including hand hygiene and cough etiquette.

• Students, faculty and staff should stringently follow sanitary measures to reduce the spread of influenza, including covering their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or coughing or sneezing into their sleeve if a tissue isn’t available), frequently washing hands with soap and water, or using hand sanitizer if hand washing with soap and water is not possible.