September 1, 2009
Dear Parents and/or Guardians:
As we enter the new school year and the traditional influenza season, we expect Wisconsin to continue seeing cases of the new pandemic flu. School and public health officials are working to keep your children safe and healthy. However, we need your help!
To date, the symptoms of H1N1 flu virus have been similar to those of the seasonal flu. National and world public health leaders predict that there could be a significant number of people who will become ill due to H1N1. School-aged children have become ill with H1N1 more frequently than is typical with the seasonal influenza. Because this is a new virus, most people do not have any protection against it, and we have much to learn. Therefore, it is important to remain vigilant and prepare for rapid changes in the spread and severity of the HIN1 flu.
A vaccine for the H1N1 flu virus is currently being developed and will be tested in late summer. Unfortunately, we cannot predict when the vaccine will become available. If testing of the vaccine proves successful, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have indicated that school-aged children will have priority for vaccination. A vaccination campaign, led by local health departments, but likely involving school personnel and other agencies and volunteers, would possibly take place in schools and other locations throughout Wisconsin this fall or winter.
The most important thing you can do is to keep your child home if he or she is ill. If your child is so sick that you would normally seek medical care, please do so. The new pandemic flu is very similar to ordinary seasonal flu. Each morning, parents and caregivers should check their children and other family members for flu symptoms such as fever, cough, or sore throat. A few cases of pandemic influenza have begun with nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea symptoms.
All sick students should stay out of school for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone without the use of Tylenolr or Ibuprofenr. Students will likely be home 3-5 days. Ill students should not attend alternative childcare. If a child or adult is ill with other symptoms, they should stay home at least one day to see how the illness develops and until completely well for 24 hours. Children who are ill upon arrival at school or become ill during the school day will be sent home. Children and adults who are ill should stay home and not go into the community unless they need medical care. Please notify the school of all flu-like absences and symptoms or confirmed cases of pandemic flu.
At this time, health and school officials are not recommending school closures for individual cases of H1N1 flu. However, as with regular seasonal flu, we might recommend closing schools if larger numbers of students or faculty become ill.
In addition to staying home when sick, here are three important things you and your family can do to help stay healthy and keep others safe:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread that way.
Again, contact your medical provider and seek medical care if that is what you would normally do.
More information about the new H1N1 flu is available on the following web sites including our District's Web Page:
You may also call the Public Health Flu Information line at 211 or the Outagamie County Health and Human Services Public Health Division at (920) 832-5100.
Thank you for your patience and cooperation during this time. With your help, we can help keep everyone safe and healthy.