Western Middle Schoo Parents And Staff Are Invited To A Swine Flu Meeting On Wednesday May 27, 2009 At 6 PM
See attached for the 5/26/09 GPS Update and a Greenwich Department of Health Update on H1N1 Influenza.
A Forum with Health Professionals has been set for:
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Western Middle School Auditorium
Parents, staff and members of the community are welcome.
Director of Communications
Greenwich Board of Education
290 Greenwich Avenue
Greenwich, CT 06830
e mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR INFORMATION CONTACT:
Caroline Calderone Baisley, MPH, RS Tom Mahoney, MS
Director of Health Public Information Officer
Tel  622-7836 Tel  622-6460
May 26, 2009
UPDATE ON H1N1 INFLUENZA
As of this date, sixteen cases of H1N1 flu (swine flu) have been confirmed in Greenwich residents. The majority of cases involve school age children. All have recovered or are at home recovering. None have required hospitalization.
Director of Health Caroline Baisley said, “To date this virus has been relatively mild in the majority of cases. However, for individuals with underlying medical conditions or compromised immune systems the symptoms could be more severe, even requiring hospitalization. It is possible that some individuals infected with H1N1 have not had symptoms. She cautioned that the number of reported cases of H1N1 most likely do not reflect the true picture of infection in the community. Physicians are being advised to consider treating patients based on influenza-like-illness regardless of rapid test results. Baisley also stated, “Because there are tests pending at the State Laboratory, we anticipate receiving notice of additional confirmed cases.”
Like other flu viruses, novel H1N1 flu spreads from an infected person to others primarily from coughing or sneezing. Sometimes people become infected by touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. Because people with novel H1N1 are thought to be infectious from one day before showing symptoms up to seven days after becoming ill, anyone who experiences influenza-like-illness (ILI) should:
Stay home and not attend school or work for a minimum of 7 days even if symptoms resolve sooner
Stay home from school or work until at least 24 hours after all symptoms have resolved
Symptoms of Influenza-like illness
Fever (100°F or 37.7°C) with cough or sore throat
Other symptoms may include – headache, runny or stuffy nose,
body aches or chills, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
Residents are reminded to utilize stringent infection control measures to reduce the spread of influenza, including but not limited to:
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or the crook of your elbow
Wash your hands often with soap and water; use alcohol based hand sanitizer if water is not available
Try not to touch your mouth, nose or eyes
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Stay home from school, work and other group activities if you are sick
For more information on H1N1 (swine flu):
Greenwich Website: http://www.greewichct.org/
Connecticut Flu Watch: www.ct.gov/ctfluwatch/swineflu
Connecticut Department of Public Health: www.ct.gov/dph
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov
GREENWICH PUBLIC SCHOOLS HEALTH UPDATE TUESDAY, May 26, 2009
FORUM SET FOR WEDNESDAY, MAY 27, 2009 – 6:00 PM
at Western Middle School AuDitorium
with health care professionals
Please check the Greenwich Public Schools Web Site regularly
for the most up to date and accurate information: http://www.greenwichschools.org/page.cfm?p=6651
School Opening Status - Western Middle School and Glenville classes at Western Middle School will remain open and on schedule, tomorrow, Wednesday, May 27, 2009.
Meeting with Health Professionals – The Greenwich Department of Health has set up a meeting for Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 6:00PM at Western Middle School’s auditorium. Local health care professionals will provide information and answer questions on the H1N1 flu virus. Parents, staff and members of the community are welcome to attend. Dr. Matthew L. Cartter, MD, MPH, the State Epidemiologist, will be one of the participants in the Wednesday evening program.
H1N1 Cases – There have been no additional confirmed Greenwich Public Schools cases of the H1N1 flu virus. To date, there have been 11 confirmed cases of the H1N1 flu virus. Please note that, per the Greenwich Department of Health’s May 26, 2009 release, there are 16 confirmed cases in Greenwich residents – only 11 of those 16 are from the Greenwich Public Schools.
Absenteeism – 229 Western Middle School students out of 492 were absent from school today. This is less than on Friday, May 22, 2009 (260 were absent). 33 Glenville students out of 108 located at Western were absent today.
GDoH Attendance Guidance - The Greenwich Department of Health has issued an important notice with School Attendance Guidance for ALL schools. It has been posted to the web site – all parents and staff are urged to read the memo and to adhere to the guidelines. In summary, the guidance states that anyone exhibiting flu-like symptoms should remain at home for a minimum of seven days.
RECAP OF EVENTS/DECISIONS:
* Activities/Sports - Regarding interschool activities and sports: Generally, if students and staff are not exhibiting symptoms and are in school – then activities and sports will continue as scheduled. There may be exceptions made on a case-by-case basis. The following are exceptions that have been made primarily due to the fact that either the teacher running the program and/or a number of students participating are ill and are at home:
- 5th grade Orientation at Western Middle School for New Lebanon School, Glenville School, Parkway School and Hamilton Avenue School students has been postponed
- Glenville’s Spring Concert at Western Middle School has been postponed.
- Adventure Racing for Western Middle School and Eastern Middle School students scheduled for 5/27/09 has been canceled.
* WMS Washington D.C. Trip - District and school professionals are working with WorldStrides, the company organizing the Washington, D.C. trip, to reschedule the trip for some time in June, if possible. There are no guarantees that this will be possible.
The District is aware that the cancellation and/or postponement of this trip will result in a negative financial impact on families that did not elect to take out insurance for the trip. We will make every effort to explore options for these families.
* On May 23, 2009, after consultation with and as recommended by State and Local Departments of Health and physicians, Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Betty J. Sternberg, canceled the Western Middle School 8th Grade trip to Washington, D.C planned for May 26-29, 2009. Dr. Sternberg said, “While this was a very difficult decision, after a thorough review of all of the facts, consultation with several health professionals at the State and local level, and two meetings with Western Middle School parents, we have decided that it is in the best interest of our students to cancel the trip.”
* Given the information available by May 23, 2009, regarding the rate and severity of student illnesses, the school medical advisor and Greenwich Hospital infectious disease physician recommended that the district cancel or postpone the Washington trip.
* By May 23, 2009, Nineteen (19), 6th grade, WMS students had experienced flu-like symptoms, were tested by a healthcare provider using the quick flu test and received negative results – these students are sick but not with a flu.
* By May 23, 2009, Fourteen (14), 6th grade, WMS students have experienced flu-like symptoms, were tested by a healthcare provider using the quick flu test and received positive results – these students are sick with a flu but at this time we do not know if it is H1N1 – the State Department of Health is conducting additional tests to determine if their flu is the H1N1 flu virus.
* On By May 23, 2009, The District did not expect to have the results of these H1N1 tests until mid to late week the following week.
* By May 23, 2009, additional cases of students with flu like symptoms at WMS have not been reported to the school or Town Dept of Health.
* On May 22, 2009, there were an uncommonly high number of absences at WMS, however, most did not appear to be due to student illnesses.
* By Wednesday, May 20, 2009, approximately 55 students had been to the infirmary at Nature’s Classroom and 19 were sick enough (multiple symptoms, fever) to send home, the other students were experiencing a range of symptoms but were not sick enough to have parents called to pick them up.
* On Monday, May 18, 2009, 130, WMS 6th graders went to Nature’s Classroom – Although it was unknown to the school at the time, one of the students had been diagnosed (using the quick test) with a “flu” and was placed on a short course of anti-viral medication. The student then reported to the school on Monday, not exhibiting any symptoms and boarded the bus for the trip. The District was unaware of any of the student’s status until Thursday, May 21, 2009.
* The decision to cancel the remainder of the Nature’s Classroom trip was made using the following considerations:
- distance from home if more students became ill
- the severity of illness in some of the sick students
- the higher probability of infection given the living situations (multiple students in bed/bunk rooms)
- amount of activity required of students
- ability to dedicate staff to students who were ill
- national attention about the spread of H1N1
The Latest From The Greenwich Time:
By Lisa Chamoff
Posted: 05/26/2009 10:04:39 PM EDT
Despite a mounting number of swine flu cases in town and an unknown number affecting the student body, Greenwich Public School officials kept Western Middle School open Tuesday.
The state Department of Public Health confirmed 16 new cases of the H1N1 flu strain in Greenwich on Tuesday afternoon, on top of the 11 students who are already confirmed to have the virus. It did not say whether the cases were at the school.
Schools Superintendent Betty Sternberg did not return several messages left on her cell phone seeking comment Tuesday. District spokeswoman Kim Eves said she would get back to Greenwich Time Tuesday afternoon with additional information but never did.....
First Selectman Peter Tesi Shows Leadership
And Talks To The Press:
.....First Selectman Peter Tesei said he was briefed Tuesday afternoon about the situation by town Health Director Caroline Calderone Baisley and was confident in the steps taken by her department in conjunction with the schools.
Tesei said he could not speak directly for the schools. He is planning to attend tonight's meeting.....
Betty Sternberg's Silence Is Causing Confussion In Town:
......While many parents said they understood the decision whether to stay open or close was a tough one, they questioned the cancellation of Western's eighth-grade class trip to Washington, D.C., this week.
"You don't think it's safe enough for my child to go to Washington, D.C., but you think it's safe enough for them to go to school?" said Jan Kach, whose daughter Alison was supposed to leave for the trip Tuesday......
....Maria Popp said when she dropped her daughter off at Western on Tuesday, the crowd was 20 percent of the size she usually sees at the school in the morning.
Popp, a member of the Representative Town Meeting who works as a pharmacist, compared the current situation to the mold scare that cancelled classes for Hamilton Avenue School students for a week in March 2008. Those students already have to end the school year two days later this year because of a state mandate that they make up the lost days from that closure.
"I really, truly question the decision to keep the school open when supposedly our children's well-being are their main concern," Popp said.
Swine Flu outbreak
The state Department of Public Health Tuesday reported 29 new cases of swine flu in 14 Connecticut towns, including Stamford, Norwalk and Greenwich.
One person was hospitalized but then recovered, according to a statement from the health department.
The state now has a total of 141 confirmed cases of H1N1 infection. Most of the cases, 99, were in Fairfield County.
So far Stamford has had four confirmed cases, Norwalk has had five and Greenwich has had 16......
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