School board: District has an eye on flu | SummitDaily.com

School board: District has an eye on flu

by the Summit School District Board of Education

In response to heightened concerns about the H1N1 virus spreading throughout the county, we want to reassure our parents and our community that we are doing everything we can to curb the spread of the virus and other illnesses among students attending our schools. It is important to note that Summit County is not unique in dealing with H1N1 and that all schools throughout Colorado and the nation are challenged with keeping children healthy throughout the flu season.

In checking with school districts around Colorado, it was not uncommon for student absenteeism connected to flu-like illness to have been high during September. As of this past Monday, student absences locally with parent-reported “flu-like” symptoms were about 3.2 percent district-wide – and about 6.3 percent of our students out ill each day with a variety of other illnesses or routine doctor’s appointments. We have found that most students contracting the flu have recovered and have been able to return to school in a few days.

When H1N1 first became prevalent in the United States last April, it was fairly common practice to close schools to stop the spread of the illness among children. This practice, however, is not currently being recommended by the Public Health Department because it did not prove to minimize the spread of the flu in communities. Officials recognized the flu can be spread in many public places in addition to schools – such as supermarkets, retail outlets, recreation centers and other public places.

Summit School District will continue to follow the guidance of the state and local Public Health Departments, and we hope to keep our schools open throughout the flu season which is anticipated to last through the spring of 2010.

Recognizing that our students’ first line of defense is proper hygiene, we are working hard to assure that our students cover their coughs and sneezes, wash their hands, and stay home if they are sick. In addition, we have equipped each of our classrooms with hand sanitizers, tissue, and disinfectant wipes. We urge our staff and students to stay home if they have flu-like symptoms. Our school health clinics have been advised to immediately send home any student who comes to school with a fever or other flu-like symptoms.

To assist parents in assessing their children’s symptoms which include fever, cough, sore throat, and runny nose, we have free thermometers available in our health clinics in each school. Parents are urged to seek a medical opinion for children with underlying medical issues or when their child’s symptoms are more severe.

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We will continue to monitor the spread of the flu in our schools and will continue to provide community updates related to this matter. Summit County Public Health will host a community meeting today from from 6-8 p.m. at the Community and Senior Center, 0151 Peak One Blvd. in Frisco to provide additional information and to answer questions from our concerned citizens.

Summit School District Board of Education

Christine Scanlan | Jon Kreamelmeyer

Sheila Groneman | Erin Major

Alison Casias | Erin Young

Brad Piehl | Millie Hamner