Absences up at Fresno area schools as the H1N1 virus spreads

October 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fresno area schools are seeing an increase in absences as the H1N1 virus spreads throughout the community and school districts are doing what they can to prevent the spread of the virus. "It is community wide. So we want parents to realize that it is in the community. It is highly likely in your child's school," said Diane Torna, Fresno Unified's Director of Health Services. H1N1 vaccines are in short supply for now but the district does have limited doses to distribute to a targeted group of high risk students. Until supply catches up with the demand, they're counting on students and parents to do their part to combat the flu's spread. They're encouraging children to practice good hygiene by washing their hands and covering their coughs. The classrooms at Jefferson Elementary School in central Fresno have hand washing stations where students can go at anytime and another hand washing station is set up as students enter the cafeteria. Parents all over the district are also asked to keep their sick children at home. "If their child is ill with a fever or cough, or if they just aren't well enough to go to school, they need to stay home," said Torna.

Clovis Unified is also more absences, almost four hundred more absences a day than normal. Health officials say that may be part of the reason the flu isn't spreading as quickly as it is in other schools around the country. "That may be part of the reason we don't have it, so much at this point because people are aware of it, and the message is getting out there," said Jeanne Prandini, the district's coordinator of nursing and health services.

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