By GreatSchools Staff
The H1N1 virus is sweeping the country --
Schools and state and county public health departments are on high alert, monitoring the situation closely and issuing new directives frequently.
Despite the alarm and the precautions taken, most cases reported have been relatively mild and have not required a doctor's care. Dr. Mitch Katz, director of San Francisco's Department of Public Health, urges people not to go to their doctor unless they actually need medical attention. Since the first reported death in the United States so far, a 23-month-old toddler in Texas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The swine flu is unpredictable as it spreads and new schools are closed every day. Have a plan in place for who will look after your child if his school shuts down. Federal and local government officials are urging employers to be flexible during this time so that parents can be home with their kids if necessary.
Children are particularly susceptible to the swine flu, and illness tends to spread quickly among them. The goal of shutting down a school is to slow the spread of the disease in a community, decrease the number of people who get sick and buy time for the production and distribution of a vaccine for this new virus.
Most schools have a communications plan for closures and will notify you. You can also call the school or check its Web site. Find the correct contact information by searching for your school on GreatSchools.
The CDC recommends that local public health officers order a school to close if there is one confirmed or strongly suspected case of swine flu on campus. Once the school is closed, school officials should also cancel gatherings such as sports or social events. To prevent further spread of the flu, parents should not allow their children to get together with other students, or send them to daycare, during the time the school is shut down.
According to the CDC, the school should resume normal operations only after no other confirmed cases have been reported for 14 days after the last case of swine flu. It's up to the school district and local health officials to make that decision.
Make sure you keep your child at home, and alert your school of his absence. Don't send him to school or daycare. You should call your doctor, but there is no need to go to the doctor's office or the emergency room or to have your child tested unless his symptoms are severe (high fever, difficulty breathing or other symptoms that don't improve after several days). In most reported cases, symptoms have been mild and gone away without medical intervention. Do give your child fluids and over-the-counter pain relievers as necessary.
Ask your child's teacher if there are assignments he can do, books he can read or Web-based learning he can engage in to keep up. In California, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell is urging schools that are closed to provide learning packets, distance learning or Web-based instruction for their students.
The state Departments of Education and the U.S. Department of Education are working closely with school districts to be flexible and make accommodations for schools that are closed during this period. They'll reschedule the tests as necessary.
Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you more
insights to help you help your child succeed.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.