Wednesday, September 23, 2009

H1N1 flu confirmed at Hemingway School

Case is first in Blaine County School District

Express Staff Writer

1The South Central Public Health office in Bellevue confirmed this week that a student at Hemingway Elementary School in Ketchum has the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu.

Hemingway Principal Don Haisley said Tuesday that the student had not been at school for 10 days. However, he said he did not know if the child's absence is related solely to the illness.

He said the school has not experienced any other cases of swine flu.

"We have not seen any unusual patterns in attendance or anything else going on at the school," he said. "Obviously, we are teaching the students to be careful, but one of the biggest things we can do is to help educate the parents—frequent hand washing, wiping down common surfaces and the biggest thing—if your children are sick, keep them home."

Katie Palmer, school district director of human resources, said the case is the first of swine flu confirmed in the district.

The school district has contingency plans in place that can be implemented if swine flu becomes more widespread. Plans include symptom screenings for all staff and students, moving classroom desks farther apart, postponing class trips and dismissing students from school for up to seven days if they become ill. School closures are also a possibility, depending upon the extent of an outbreak and recommendations from the health district.

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