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Flu absentee rate breaks 30% at 4 schools

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  • Flu absentee rate breaks 30% at 4 schools

    Flu absentee rate breaks 30% at 4 schools

    Last Updated: Tuesday, November 3, 2009 | 9:53 AM ET

    CBC News

    <!-- MEDIA CLIPS --><!-- END MEDIA CLIPS -->
    More than 30 per cent of students are home sick with flu-like symptoms from four P.E.I. schools, but there are no immediate plans to close them.

    Two of the schools are in the Charlottetown area, and two are west of Summerside. They are:
    • Westwood Primary, Cornwall.
    • Donagh Regional.
    • O'Leary Elementary.
    • St. Louis Elementary.
    The decision to keep the schools open came after discussion between board superintendents and the province's chief health officer Monday afternoon.

    Eastern School District superintendent Sandy MacDonald said each school reports on students and staff out sick each day. So far, he said, they have enough staff to keep the schools open.

    "If we can't for example transport our kids to school or can't keep the school clean or can't teach the curriculum, then we'd be interested in closing for operational reasons," said MacDonald.

    MacDonald said the fact that more children than adults are getting sick with the flu is making it easier to keep the schools open. It was a shortage of staff, he said, that ended up closing some schools in New Brunswick.

    Chief health officer Dr. Heather Morrison said there isn't any public health reason to close the schools. Morrison said the flu is so widespread right now, closing schools wouldn't keep the kids any safer. But she added health officials are keeping close watch on the situation.

    "If the severity of illness changes, then that certainly would enter into the decision-making, or if we learned something nationally that will influence our decision-making, certainly, we will be discussing that with the school boards," she said.

    Professional development day cancelled

    The Department of Education has cancelled a professional development day scheduled for Friday so that the students will be in school for swine flu vaccination clinics.

    Parent-teacher interviews planned in the Western School Board on Thursday have also been postponed.

    In the Eastern School District, Westwood Primary, Southern Kings Consolidated, Georgetown Elementary and Cardigan Consolidated will have parent teacher interviews on Thursday.

    Students in Grades 1 through 3 across the province will be receiving the swine flu shot on Thursday and Friday. In a news release, the government says it wanted to hold the vaccination clinics as quickly as possible.

    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela

  • #2
    Re: Flu absentee rate breaks 30% at 4 schools

    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD height=10>Last updated at 1:10 AM on 07/11/09 </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    Outbreak continues at 21 Island schools
    The Guardian

    The number of students reporting flu-like illness dropped for a fifth consecutive day at Prince Edward Island schools.
    As of Friday, there were 21 Island schools reporting 10 per cent absenteeism. That?s down from 22 schools on Thursday and down from a high of 35 schools on Monday.
    Three West Prince elementary schools are reporting more than 30 per cent of their students out with influenza-like illness. They are Bloomfield Elementary (42.8 per cent), St. Louis Elementary (43.7 per cent) and O?Leary Elementary (30.6 per cent.)
    Dr. Lamont Sweet, the Island?s deputy chief health officer, said in an earlier interview it?s too premature to say this signals an end to H1N1.
    ?It would be extremely unusual to have the numbers go down this fast,? Sweet said.
    ?Never in the last 20 years have we ever had an outbreak of influenza come in, hit so fast, and decrease so fast. It?s a little bit premature to say this looks good. It looks encouraging but that?s all.?
    School vaccination programs for Grades 1, 2, and 3 wrapped up on Friday.
    The provincial government had planned to update Islanders on Friday on plans for the next wave of vaccinations and the number of Islanders sick but that never happened.
    So it?s unknown what will happen with the clinics next week. The province is now saying a briefing is planned for Monday afternoon.
    The Department of Health?s web site says clinics will be held next week for junior and senior high school students and pregnant women, depending on vaccine availability.
    The New Brunswick government continues to keep its residents informed. They held a briefing on Friday.
    Health officials there said 40,000 more doses of swine flu vaccine are expected to arrive in that province by the middle of next week.
    Dr. Eilish Cleary, New Brunswick?s chief medical officer of health, says there has been 33 hospitalizations of people infected with the virus this week bringing the total number to 38 since the pandemic arrived in April.
    Meanwhile, the first public clinics will be held in New Brunswick on Monday in Bereford and Saint-Marie-Saint-Raphael.
    Clinics will be held in Bathurst and Pokemouche on Tuesday.

    Who?s hit hard
    Following schools still reporting high rates of absenteeism due to H1N1:
    Englewood School
    Gulf Shore Consolidated School
    Sherwood Elementary School
    West Kent Elementary School
    Alberton Elementary School
    Bloomfield Elementary School (42.8 per cent)
    Elm St. Elementary School
    Greenfield Elementary School
    Hernewood Intermediate School
    ME Callaghan Intermediate School
    Miscouche Consolidated School
    O?Leary Elementary School (30.6 per cent)
    Parkside Elementary School
    Queen Elizabeth Elementary School
    Summerside Intermediate School
    Somerset Consolidated School
    St Louis Elementary School (43.7 per cent)
    Tignish Elementary School
    Westisle Composite School
    Ecole la Belle-Cloche
    Ecole Pierre-Chiasson

    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela