Schools take extra precautions for H1N1

October 22, 2009 6:17:05 PM PDT
Schools across the Bay Area are staying open despite H1N1 cases. Many, like the school in Vacaville are now taking extra precautions.

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An isolation room at Herbert Hoover Middle School is simple and yet effective in helping prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus.

"So we have the students that exhibit a fever over 100, as well as one other sympton, and then they're asked to stay in the isolation room until their parents can pick them up to go home," said school nurse Cheryl Barton, RN.

There are no locked doors or special equipment -- just a place that allows for a six foot safety zone between people. The state would like every school to have an isolation room but with limited space, some campuses are having to make do with an isolation area.

"We're working with them individually. It could be that if they have a big office the children are waiting six feet away from people going by," said Health Services Manager Melinda Landau, RN.

To help combat H1N1, San Jose Unified has purchased digital thermometers for each of its 40 schools. The $80 device can scan a forehead and provide accurate readings quickly with no skin contact.

The district's plan however of offering free H1N1 flu shots to all of its 32,000 students is in limbo.

The voluntary vaccinations were supposed to start October 19th, but a shortage of the H1N1 vaccine has delayed those mass clinics until at least the end of the month, and probably into November.

That's disappointing to Lucy Martins who has two children enrolled in the district and is eager for them to get the vaccine.

"I'm worried...it because so many people are dying right now, so I don't want any trouble with my two kids. So I'm going to do it," she said.

The district is urging parents not to wait if they can find the vaccine elsewhere.

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