Schools preparing for H1N1Superintendent Phil Minkkinen said he offered the school district’s buildings for student immunizations for H1N1 flu, if it is ever needed.
By: Matt Suoja, Lake County News Chronicle
Superintendent Phil Minkkinen said he offered the school district’s buildings for student immunizations for H1N1 flu, if it is ever needed.
At a school board meeting last week Minkkinen said he is currently trying to get a policy statement on what to do if there is an outbreak. The policy statement would outline details such as when a school should close to prevent further spread of the flu. A meeting is planned for next week.
There have been 259 hospitalized cases in the state of Minnesota and three deaths.
As students return to school, the Lake County Health Department is preparing parents for the possibility of the H1N1 flu.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report higher than normal levels of flu-like illness and actual H1N1 outbreaks in some parts of the country, something that is “very unusual” for this time of year.
Scientists believe this virus could worsen with the arrival of school.
Similar to seasonal flu, with H1N1 you’ll get a fever, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Sometimes H1N1 causes diarrhea and vomiting. Just like seasonal flu, it can be severe and potentially deadly.
H1N1 can be dangerous for a person with an underlying medical condition — such as asthma or diabetes — or if you’re pregnant. So far, it’s been most contagious among children and young adults age six months to 24 years. Health care workers, emergency responders and people caring for infants should be on guard.
Lake County Human Services nurse, Becky Simonsen, recommends the following should someone in your family begin feeling ill.
Stay home, and start planning now in the event that one of your kids gets the flu. And ask yourself these questions: If you work, have you made arrangements for child care? Have you talked with your employer about what to do in case you need to be out?
Some preparation is community-wide. If you’re an employer, now is the time to plan to meet your objectives with a reduced staff. You do not want an employee who is ill to spread flu in the workplace.
If you’re a medical provider, don’t risk being overloaded and overburdened. An outbreak will not only bring people who have H1N1 into hospitals and doctors’ offices—you’ll also see the “worried well.” Plan now to deal with the influx of patients that could come with an outbreak.
At the national level, scientists at the National Institutes of Health, the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration are working with vaccine manufacturers to make sure that an H1N1 vaccine is not only safe, but that the virus is not changing in ways that would reduce a vaccine’s impact. They expect to have a vaccine ready this fall.
For more information visit www.flu.gov.
In other school board news:
- There was an update on the building projects. There have been a few glitches at the Minnehaha Elementary School, but by the time school starts the workers should be out of the classroom and in the boiler room. Minkkinen said the William Kelley High School project in Silver Bay is going along well. It is not expected to be done when school starts, which was expected.
- Minnehaha Principal Pat Driscoll said the lists assigning students to classes are up at the school.
She said an outdoor classroom would be ready when school begins at the Minnehaha. It will be available for a variety of classes.
- THHS will be getting a visit from the Title IX compliance group. Title IX states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” It is a random survey and no one filed a complaint.