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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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David Lewkowict

Atlanta, GA

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School Bells Ring in H1N1 Fears

August 17, 2009 - 2:02 PM | by: David Lewkowict

Children are back in school in parts of the southeastern United States.  In Dunwoody, GA administrators spent the summer preparing for what some fear can be a severe outbreak of the H1N1 swine flu in schools.

Patricia Pope, Chief Operations Officer for DeKalb County Schools says their goal is prevention.  ”We’ve installed sanitizers over the summer in every one of our facilities.” The rule: children must wash their hands frequently and sanitize prior to entering rooms.

According to the CDC, use of alcohol based hand sanitizers are an effective way to prevent the spread of H1N1.  The guidelines for schools also suggest teaching students to cough or sneeze into their elbow.

The school district has also implemented a strategy of frequent cleaning of all hard surfaces.  Many schools, both public and private, asked parents to provide disinfecting wipes along with pencils and paper on school supply lists.

In the event of an outbreak, the CDC has recommended that schools not close unless absolutely necessary in order to prevent a repeat of last springs mass closures.  Nearly 800 schools were closed due to H1N1 when the flu was first detected in the United States last Spring.

Quentin Fretwell says, “the goal is to keep schools open.”  As Director of Student Relations, Fretwell is on the team that will determine school closures.  He says the best way is for everyone to be a partner in preventing the spread of H1N1.

CDC officials say children with a temperature detected in school should be isolated and then sent home.  Children should not return to school until they are fever free for 24 hours without meds.

“We are going to look at each school individually and figure out, based on it’s population what makes sense from a manpower perspective.”  Dr. Elizabeth Ford of the DeKalb County Board of Health says her agency will be on the front lines of prevention, detection and if needed reaction to H1N1.  The Board of Health has a team working with the school district to evaluate and implement plans.

Click the video below to see what Dunwoody Elementary in Dekalb County GA has done to keep the school safe from the flu.

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For more click on Cappy Cochran’s blog.

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