Swine flu case at HISD school

September 2, 2009 4:24:42 PM PDT
There is a confirmed case of swine flu at HISD's Poe Elementary School. Parents have been notified about the infected student. The new school year means new guidelines for dealing with the H1N1 virus, especially now that we know more about it. Poe Elementary parents were notified by automated message, but that will not be standard procedure this year, as the HISD administration tries to bring perspective on swine flu.

As thousands of flu prevention pamphlets were printed to be sent off for parents of HISD, it was clear the district's approach to swine flu this year would be a lot different.

HISD spokesperson Evelyn Henry said, "School closure is not the first choice."

The district says it's learned a lot since the swine flu forced several of its schools to be closed last year. Now, instead of closing entire campuses, only those students believed to be sick will be sent home.

"The parents are going to be asked to come pick that child up and keep them home until the child has been free of fever for 24 hours," Henry explained.

Officials say their main goal is to avoid the mass hysteria seen last year. It's why they are holding off on sending letters out to all parents of students, focusing mainly on those who have sick children. The city adds that swine flu, like regular seasonal flu, is not even a reportable disease, like meningitis or tuberculosis.

Dr. David Persse with the Houston Public Health Authority said, "I think you can anticipate a lot of the classmates of your child are going to get it. Your child may get it. Your co-workers may get it. We just need to be smart about it and not panic."

The district says it is really relying on parents to concentrate on prevention, which is why more than 200,000 flu prevention pamphlets are on their way to parent, not to scare, but to inform.

"He went to the doctor before school started. We got a flu thing," said parent Mindy Davis-White. "You know, what else are you going to do but just be aware and take normal precautions?"

We've also learned that suspected swine flu cases have been reported at Strake Jesuit High School. Officials there are also informing students in a case by case situation.

As we move into flu season, check these 10 things you need to know about the swine flu.

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