With the closure of Pallotti Catholic High School last week, and the continued news coverage, we contacted the Anne Arundel County Public Schools to get an update on the H1N1/Swine Flu problem–if any. Our interest was sparked by a few notes from faculty on the rescheduling of events due to excessive absences.
According to Bob Mosier, spokesman for the public schools, there have been several cancellations or postponements of athletic events. He was quick to note that illnesses on both teams play a role and it is certainly not isolated to H1N1.
Mosier also reiterated that school health rooms are NOT diagnosing H1N1. If a student is seen with any flu-like symptom, it will be noted and the student sent home. Flu-like symptoms could be H1N1, typical seasonal flu, strep, or any other malady. The schools appear to be erring on the side of caution.
When asked specifically about the absentee rate this season compared to last season, Mosier noted that there are no absentee rates(either in sheer number or regional numbers) which indicate any special measures should be implemented. Anecdotal evidence from the students in local high and middle schools indicate that there may be a few more people out than usual, but nothing very noticeable.
The Department of Health and our school system have multiple conversations daily and we will discuss any abnormally high numbers as they come to our attention. To date, we have not seen any numbers that rise to a level to warrant any special measures other than what is currently being prescribed by CDC and DHMH.
Bob Mosier, Anne Arundel County Public Schools Spokesperson
The school is unaware of any diagnosis of a student with H1N1 in the County. H1N1 testing is typically only done after hospitalization and in many cases, H1N1 can be treated without medical attention. However, prevention is key. Frequent handwashing is critical to stop the spread as is making sure that your mouth and nose is covered when you cough or sneeze. It is recommended that you cough or sneeze into your elbow.