Swine flu watch changes tactic

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By John Foster

The number of Oldham County students infected with Swine Flu is unknown, but school officials do know it hasn’t affected attendance.

The number of students infected by the H1N1 virus is tough to determine, since it’s up to parents to inform schools about students’ diagnoses, Director of School Health Services Teresa Gamsky said. In the last couple weeks, fewer parents have been calling to inform schools.

“We don’t really have the right to know unless a parent tells us,” she said.

Of those they do know, most symptoms disappeared after a couple days, she said. And as far as she knows, no students have been hospitalized with the flu and no staff have come down with the flu.

She said more than just the flu is out earlier than normal. Multiple students have been diagnosed with strep, viral meningitis and stomach viruses. Sorting that all out and monitoring students with the flu becomes impossible, Gamsky said. 

So for about the last week and a half, they’ve switched from trying to monitor all students with illnesses to monitoring attendance, which has remained steady compared to other years.

For instance, the attendance Sept. 3 was 95.8 percent, which is right on average, Director of Pupil Personnel Michael Williams said. No schools have attendance below their normal range, he said.

Other than monitoring, the main effort to combat the spread of the flu virus is emphasizing hygiene. Students hear announcements daily admonishing them to wash their hands and cover their coughs.


E-mail us about this story at: jfoster@oldhamera.com