Seattle Courant

Swine Flu Closes Three Schools

Diagram of H1N1swine flu virus. Source: University of Washington
By Ryan Burr
May 1, 2009 12:05PM

Jill Lewis, program manager for Seattle Public Schools’ Student Health Services, advises the following on the district Web site:

“For Madrona K-8, Aki Kurose Middle School and Stevens Elementary students and families: To avoid spreading infection, students should not gather outside of school during the week that school is closed. If students or staff do become ill, avoid contact with others and remain at home from work and school either for seven days after illness starts or for a full day after the illness is over, whichever is longer. If your symptoms are more severe, call your health care provider to discuss if you need to be seen and evaluated, and tell them about the school closure for swine flu.”

Earlier this week, the district provided an informational letter to all schools to be shared with families and staff. It noted that on April 29 the first suspected cases of swine flu in King County were reported by public health officials, and that Seattle Public Schools staff is working “closely with the local, state, and national health agencies to investigate any illnesses and/or infections and we have plans in place to deal with any potential outbreaks.”

Referring to the King County Public Health department’s report of 10 probable swine flu cases, the department says on its Web site that laboratory samples have been sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to await confirmation.

“In the United States, what we’re seeing so far is that the severity of these cases is no more than what would be seen in a typical flu season. At the same time, we have limited experience, so it’s important not to draw premature conclusions. It’s important that we continue to learn and monitor activity in the community,” David Fleming, director and health officer for King County’s Public Health department, says on the Web site.

To stay abreast on school-related news about the flu, visit SeattleSchools.org. To read more about what can be done to prevent spread of the swine flu or about symptoms, King County Swine Flu Web site.