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Schools preparing for (Swine) flu season

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Clay Community School Corporation is preparing for the seasonal flu and H1N1/Swine flu.

Coordinator of Health Services Lynn Stoelting is preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best.

"Nurses were instructed before the first day of school on how to handle children who are sick and getting them sent home as quickly as possible," she said. "Especially if they are showing signs of the flu."

Stoelting is working with the Clay County Health Department, St. Vincent Clay Hospital, the Indiana State Department of Health and other organizations within the Wabash Valley to monitor and prepare for a possible flu outbreak.

"We are doing Scrubbing Bear with the Red Cross for the Kindergarten, first-and second-grade students, which is in the works," she said. "We are also working with the older students to promote good hand washing, as well as sneezing and coughing etiquette."

In a letter sent home to parents, additional steps that will be taken include:

* Conducting active fever and flu symptom screenings of students and staff as they arrive at school,

* Increasing the space between people, which could include moving desks and postponing class trips, and

* Dismissing students from school for a minimum of seven days if they become sick.

Stoelting is encouraging students to wash their hands and to not share personal items. She is also advising parents to learn the signs and symptoms of the flu as well as not sending children to school if they are sick and keeping sick children at home at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever or do not have signs of a fever, without using fever-reducing drugs.

The custodial staff has also been given additional procedures on cleaning and disinfecting.

"We are already doing the NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) testing and the computers are being wiped down between students," she said. "That is a big job for our staff because they have so many other things going on and I appreciate that."

"Hopefully we won't see a severe flu season," she added. "But right now, it points to being more severe, especially amount young adults and children and that is the group we deal with."

The Clay Community School Board of Trustees will conduct a special session Monday, at 6:30 p.m., in the media center at North Clay Middle School to approve the 2010 budget.

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