One parent of a Stonewall Middle School student just had their child diagnosed with Swine Flu, and reported to me that when she contacted the school nurse to report the infection, the school nurse denied that it was a case of Swine Flu despite a physician’s diagnosis, and demanded that she be able to speak with the doctor to convince him he was wrong. Another report, so far unconfirmed, is that there are at least four unreported cases of Swine Flu at Stonewall Jackson High School.
This is utterly ridiculous.
Stay tuned for updates…
Updates below the fold…
UPDATE: PWCS released the following information a day after this broke:
June 16, 2009
Dear Prince William County Public School Community:
We are approaching the end of another exciting school year and I thank everyone for making it a successful one. I offer my special congratulations to all of our graduates who recently culminated their education in Prince William County Public Schools. Their success reaffirms that our children are receiving a World-Class Education.
I also want to reassure you that—in addition to providing a World-Class Education—we also have healthy and safe schools. As you already know, last week we had our first case of the H1N1 Virus, otherwise known as “Swine Flu.” Today, the Prince William Health District (PWHD) informed us of several other confirmed cases in schools from around the county. Currently, we have 11 total confirmed cases; two at Stonewall Jackson High School, five at West Gate Elementary School, and one each at Sinclair Elementary School, Stonewall Middle School, Mullen Elementary School, and Tyler Elementary School. Each is at home recovering.
It is now clear that this virus is circulating in the community, and this count only represents those individuals who have undergone testing. The PWHD has informed us that, from now on, not all individuals having flu-like symptoms will be tested, making it impossible to know the exact number of cases. However, as we receive information from the PWHD regarding our schools, it will be posted to our Web site.
Please remember that health officials are saying the severity of the H1N1 virus does not appear to be any more severe than seasonal flu. Therefore, there is no need for alarm, but I do want to take this opportunity to remind you to keep children home if they exhibit a flu-like illness for at least seven days from the onset of symptoms or 24 hours after the symptoms are resolved if they are still symptomatic at seven days.
All of our schools will remain open tomorrow, the last day of school, a decision supported by the general guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is not advising that schools dismiss for suspected or confirmed cases of H1N1 flu. In accordance with established guidelines, Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) has been in frequent contact with local and state health officials. We continue to closely monitor the situation and are utilizing the guidance of the PWHD, Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the CDC. Rest assured that we continue to take all the appropriate measures to ensure the health of all of our students and staff.
We do ask that you please continue to monitor your children for any of the symptoms of influenza, which include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue, and occasionally vomiting and diarrhea. Please continue to be diligent about this after school is dismissed for summer vacation, especially if your child will be participating in summer school, summer camps, or other activities with groups of children. If your child is experiencing any symptoms which you are concerned about, please contact your child’s healthcare provider.
This letter, once again, provides me with a good opportunity to remind everyone of the simple steps that you can take to keep your family healthy. These include:
* Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water. Clean hands with an alcohol-based hand cleaner if soap and water are not available.
* Cover your nose and mouth with your sleeve or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
* Stay home when you are sick.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to prevent the spread of germs.
* Avoid close contact with those who have symptoms of flu; and
* If you need to seek care for you or your child, please call ahead to your health care provider’s office and tell them what symptoms you have, so they can see you quickly and prevent exposing other people in the waiting room.
The health and safety of our students and staff continues to be of the utmost importance, even beyond the school year. Please refer to the PWCS Web site or the VDH Web site for the most up-to-date information and for helpful resources regarding the H1N1 Virus.
Thank you again for your attention to this important matter. Have a great summer.
Steven L. Walts,
Superintendent of Schools
And this went out the night before the last scheduled day of school. I really have to wonder how long this information has been known.
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