Schools taking precautions for H1N1 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Schools taking precautions for H1N1

by Jamie Grey

DUBUQUE COUNTY (KWWL) -- Although there are no cases of H1N1 flu in Dubuque county, everyone is taking precautions.

At a countywide H1N1 meeting Monday, officials from Dubuque, Western Dubuque, and Holy Family schools talked about their plans of action.

At Fulton Elementary hand washing isn't just an H1N1 precaution, it's an everyday thing.  Before kids can line up for lunch trays, they line up for a squirt of hand sanitizer.

Kids, especially younger ones, get pretty close to each other -- experts say often increasing the likelihood for spreading germs.

All of the schools in Dubuque county have a plan for pandemic influenza -- like H1N1.  The plan has two main goals: keep the district operating and prevent the spread of the virus.

"Coughing into your elbow, sneezing into your elbow, good hand washing every chance you can get... we always are stressing wash your hands, and staying home if you're not feeling well," said Dubuque schools Health Supervisor Patrice Lambert.

The county also has quarantine plans -- and the schools pandemic plan includes provisions for school closure -- but it's emphasized that closing schools is an absolute last resort.

"If we do close school, then we also need to be looking at grocery stores and shopping malls because we don't want the ill children, or ill staff or the ill families to be congregating in public areas where that virus could spread," said Lambert.

District officials haven't changed anything at Dubuque schools as of yet, but are still reminding teachers and parents to look for any symptoms of this latest flu strain.

Health professionals wrote the Dubuque schools pandemic flu plan in 2006 in response to the Avian or bird flu.  If you'd like to see a copy of the Dubuque Community Schools pandemic plan, click here.

Online Reporter -- Jamie Grey

Online Producer -- Dani Blecha

Powered by Frankly