Angry parents were yesterday demanding the closure of the Grant Memorial Presbyterian Primary School,
after two cases of the dreaded H1N1 virus (swine flu) were discovered among its pupils.
The students, who recently returned from Miami, where they spent a portion of the August vacation, attended classes last week. They have been quarantined at home. The parents were demanding to know in which classes the students were enrolled, how many days they attended school before they were diagnosed, and whether their children were exposed to the virus. Acting principal Barbara Sukhu, in a letter dated September 8 and issued to the parents of the 1,100-plus students, confirmed the findings and advised that classes would continue as usual.
“Be assured that all precautionary measures are in effect at the school to ensure your child’s safety,” she advised, as she urged parents not to keep their children at home. Non-attendance was no guarantee of prevention of the disease, the letter stated, pointing out that personal hygiene practices were the main methods of preventing the spread of the disease. Sukhu said both the Ministries of Education and Health have advised that there is no need for panic. She also outlined a number of measures to be observed by students. San Fernando Mayor Kenneth Ferguson assured yesterday evening that the situation was under control and also urged parents not to panic. The mayor explained that the children, who vacationed in Miami, were in school last week.
“They fell ill, demonstrated symptoms of the virus, were taken to the doctor, swabbed and, on Monday, we understand, the test came back positive,” he said. Ferguson said the County Medical Officer of Health, Victoria, on Tuesday advised the Public Health Department of the San Fernando City Corporation of his findings.
He said a public health nurse and a public health visitor went to the school. “We will continue to assist the ministry in whatever way necessary to ensure this disease does not spread to other students or in the city,” Ferguson said.
• Classes will continue as usual
• Pupils should be equipped with napkins (not wash rags) in which to cough or sneeze
• Hands should be properly washed with soap and water especially before eating
• Each child should be equipped with alcohol-based hand sanitiser
• If your child displays flu-like symptoms, keep him/her at home and visit the health centre or hospital
• Pupils should avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread that way.
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.