Valley Schools Close for Flu Precautions

May 1, 2009 6:51:45 PM PDT
H1N1 Flu Central - Valley UpdateSunnyside Elementary School in Strathmore closed down Friday and will be closed at least through Monday.

Woodville Union Elementary School will shut down all of next week after an unusually high number of absences and sick children.

Sunnyside Elementary School in Strathmore closed Friday after Health Officials believe the county's second probable case of the H1N1 flu virus had contact with someone there. Steve Tsuboi, Superintendent Sunnyside Elementary School said, "At the recommendation of the Tulare County Health Department we closed down for precautionary measures."

The superintendent hopes the school will be back open on Monday. At Woodville Union Elementary School, students walked home from class early after the Health Department ordered it closed all next week. The principal reports triple the average number of absences and an unusual number of staff and students with a fever and flu symptoms.

Ray Bullick, Health Services Director said, "The level of absenteeism and illness reported in to that school gave cause for concern."

What seems to be spreading much faster than the flu, is caution. In Kings County, where there are no cases of the H1N1 virus, employees were scrubbing down the Preston Green Learning Center.

David Droker, Kings Community Action Organization said, "We had a couple of children present themselves with flu-like symptoms yesterday and in an abundance of caution we contacted the health dept and asked for a recommendation they asked we re-sterilize the facility and open it up on the next business day which would be Monday.

The Porterville convalescent hospital has locked its front doors after county health officials identified a nurse there as the county's second probable flu case. A sign on the front door advises no visitors for the next seven days.

A convalescent hospital spokesperson said in a statement that none of its residents or staff have shown any flu symptoms. The nurse originally went into the E.R. at Sierra View District Hospital on Tuesday night to get tested for the flu virus. Now the hospital is screening every person who comes through its doors.

As for Mountain View Elementary School in Visalia where a Kindergartner was the County's first probably flu virus, plans to reopen the school are still up in the air. The County said brand new guidelines require schools to be closed for up to 14-days after the most recent possible exposure, so they'll be discussing that issue throughout this Friday evening.

County Health Officials said all of the kids they've spoken to who became sick on Wednesday are recovering. They also point out that every confirmed H1N1 flu case in California has included a fever, which has not been a significant symptom in the illness they're investigating here.

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