Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Swine flu hits neighboring Methacton school district in Montgomery County

Swine flu hits school district

UPDATED - At 10 p.m. FOX 29 reports 5 cases in Methacton and 1 in Norristown

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Times Herald Staff

WORCESTER — With two Methacton High School students out sick with confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus, the number of healthy students staying home to avoid infection is apparently on the rise.

“We have seen an uptick in our absenteeism,” said Methacton School District spokesperson Angela Lynch, who said the number of absent students was not yet available.

“We’re basically doing all we can to communicate with our families as effectively as we possibly can because the idea is to give them as much information as we can so they can keep their kids healthy and pay close attention to symptoms.”

Superintendent Timothy Quinn offered the following statement via the District’s Web site:

“The district has been informed that two of our high school students have been diagnosed with novel influenza A H1N1. However, it is our belief that cases of this illness could be present in all of our schools, and in the interest of open communication, we chose to share this information with our families directly. Working within the recommended guidelines of state and local health department officials, the district has taken several proactive measures in order to prevent the spread of this illness in our schools.

“This includes using our (Web site), Alert-Now and other methods to regularly communicate prevention strategies and other important information with our entire Methacton community. We have reinforced our procedures for cleaning and disinfecting our schools and bus fleet, and our nursing staff is working to educate our students and staff about proper hand washing techniques, and hygienic coughing and sneezing. The district made an advanced purchase of a hand sanitizing agent that is approved for use in schools and installation of dispensers in cafeterias, auditoriums, computer labs, art rooms, classrooms without sinks and other areas in all of our buildings is nearly complete.

“As a school district, it is our belief that the best methods for helping our students stay healthy lie in education and ongoing communication.”


CDC recommendations:

Take these everyday steps to protect your health:

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.*

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) Keep away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick.

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