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State Supt. makes stop at GUSD before warning of swine flu threat

August 21, 2009
Creative Commons

Creative Commons

State Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell met with Glendale Unified School District officials Friday to offer his praise for the district’s high standardized test scores.

He then moved on to a meeting in Los Angeles on more urgent concerns: swine flu.

“The excitement about returning to school and seeing old friends could cause us to let our guard down about preventing the spread of the flu virus,” O’Connell said in a statement about the H1N1 virus. “I urge parents, students, and school officials to remain vigilant and review the updated safety protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Education.”

He then issued these guidelines:

  • Students and staff with flu-like illness should stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever, or signs of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
  • Students and staff who appear to have flu-like illness should be sent to a room separate from others until they can be sent home. If possible, the ill person should wear a surgical mask to prevent coughing or sneezing on others. A school nurse or other staff person caring for the student should use appropriate personal protective equipment.
  • Students and staff should wash hands frequently with soap and water when possible, and always cover noses and mouths with a tissue, shirt sleeve, or elbow when coughing or sneezing. If soap and water is not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers should be available for student and staff use.
  • School staff should routinely clean areas that students and staff touch often with the cleaners they typically use. Cleansers with bleach and other non-detergent-based cleaners are not necessary.
  • People experiencing severe flu symptoms, especially those who are at high risk for complications if they become ill with an influenza-like illness should speak with their health care provider as soon as possible. People at high risk include those who are pregnant, have asthma or diabetes, have compromised immune systems, or have neuromuscular diseases.
  • Although there are not many schools where all or most students are at high risk, a community might decide to dismiss a school to better protect these students. School officials should work closely and directly with their local and state public health officials when deciding whether or not to selectively dismiss a school or schools with large populations of high risk students.
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