ADE Director's Communication Memo Form


Memo Number : COM-09-175

Date Created : 05/05/2009

Attention:

Superintendents
Co-op Directors
Secondary Principals
Elementary Principals
Middle School Principals
High School Principals

Type of Memo: Informational
Response Required: No
   
Section:   Communications - Julie Thompson, Director
Subject:
H1N1 Flu Important Update

Regulatory Authority:
N/A

Contact Person:
Julie Johnson Thompson

Phone Number:
501-683-4786

E-mail:
julie.thompson@arkansas.gov

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued new guidance the afternoon of May 5, 2009, saying that school closure is not advised for a suspected or confirmed case of novel influenza A (H1N1) and, in general, is not advised unless there is a magnitude of faculty or student absenteeism that interferes with the schoolís ability to function. The Arkansas Departments of Health and Education will follow this guidance for Arkansas schools.

Other guidance issued by the CDC include:
*Schools that were closed based on previous interim CDC guidance related to this outbreak may reopen.
*Students, faculty or staff with influenza-like illness (fever with a cough or sore throat) should stay home and not attend school or go into the community except to seek medical care for at least 7 days even if symptoms resolve sooner.
*Students, faculty and staff who are still sick 7 days after they become ill should continue to stay home from school until at least 24 hours after symptoms have resolved.
*Students, faculty and staff who appear to have an influenza-like illness at arrival or become ill during the school day should be isolated promptly in a room separate from other students and sent home.
*Siblings of ill students may remain in school unless they present with symptoms.
*Parents and guardians should monitor their school-aged children, and faculty and staff should self-monitor every morning for symptoms of influenza-like illness.
*Ill students should not attend alternative child care or congregate in settings other than school.
*School administrators should communicate regularly with local public health officials to obtain guidance about reporting of influenza-like illnesses in the school.
*Schools can help serve as a focus for educational activities aimed at promoting ways to reduce the spread of influenza, including hand hygiene and cough etiquette.
*Students, faculty and staff should stringently follow sanitary measures to reduce the spread of influenza, including covering their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or coughing or sneezing into their sleeve if a tissue isnít available), frequently washing hands with soap and water, or using hand sanitizer if hand washing with soap and water is not possible.

Further guidance can be found in:

Questions and Answers About Novel H1N1 Flu at
http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/qa.htm

The CDC cautions that this new guidance does not signify an end to the H1N1 flue outbreak in the United States. Instead, because the severity of the virus so far is less than originally thought, it is adequate to institute individual withdrawal from school of ill students and facultry rather than schoolwide closure.

The CDC also states that it will continue to monitor the virus and issue new guidance regarding school closure if it is warranted. The Arkansas Department of Education will notify schools of any changes via Commissioner's Memo.

Attachments:
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