Vallejo schools act to stave off swine flu

April 27, 2009 6:20:15 PM PDT
Bay Area school districts are taking precautionary measures to keep swine flu from reaching their schools. There is no reason to panic, but every reason to be concerned.

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Early on Monday morning, the Vallejo school district decided to send e-mails out to their staff, including custodians, to alert them about the virus and ways to prevent it from spreading.

In a life sciences class, talk of the swine flu virus was unavoidable.

Teachers at Solano Middle School in Vallejo also reminded students of ways to prevent the spread of this virus or any other.

"Between what is being heard on the news, what is seen on the news, what is circulated around from their parents, older brothers and sisters, kids are suddenly becoming aware of wow, I need to wash my hands, I need to cover my mouth, I need to look out for what may be going on," said teacher Emily Frank.

Early on Monday morning, the Vallejo City Unified School District asked custodians to put in extra hours. Water fountains will be disinfected, so will tabletops, sinks and door handles

"For the time being, during this pandemic scare everything is to be disinfected every night, so that's a bit of a change, it will cost us more money but we have to do it, we can't take any chances," said school spokesperson Jason Hodge.

Teachers received e-mails from the district asking them to identify kids with flu-like symptoms. Teachers themselves were told to stay home if they weren't feeling well.

About 17,000 parents will receive an automated phone call from the school district letting them know the schools are taking the necessary precautions to keep their kids safe.

The district is discouraging parents from keeping students at home.

"We want our parents to continue sending their kids to school. A drop in enrollment will be a big financial hit for us and we don't want to see that," said Hodge.

The school district doesn't get money from the state when students are absent.

Schools in Vallejo are prepared for earthquakes, fires and disasters. But when it comes to a pandemic, the district said it does not have a plan in place because it is something that is beyond their control.

At that point, health officials, the county and parents come into play.

More Information:

Center for Disease Control
California Department of Public Health
World Health Organization

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