Planning ahead for swine flu

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Catlin Gabel's plans and recommendations in anticipation of the coming flu season
Lark, division heads, and other staff members are constantly monitoring information from local county health departments. Administrative assistant Chris Balag attended a statewide conference on swine flu in late August, where she met with Governor Kulongoski and local health authorities. Since the start of the school year we have been in regular contact with Kathleen O'Leary, Washington County public health administator, and Dr. Paul Lewis, deputy tri-county health officer and associate professor of infectious diseases at OHSU, to ensure that our information is current and our plans are appropriate.
 
Here are some of Catlin Gabel’s plans and recommendations in anticipation of the coming flu season:
 
Anyone with flu-like symptoms should STAY HOME and remain at home until he or she is fever free without medication for at least 24 hours. This is a public health issue; everyone’s cooperation is vitally important.
 
When calling in to report your child’s absence, we would appreciate knowing if he or she has flu-like symptoms. We will do our best to track trends.
 
Students missing classes will have ample opportunity to make up work. Teachers will take special care to help.
 
Students missing practices or games because of illness will not be penalized for their absence.
 
When one-third or more of the students in any one grade level are out sick for any reason, be it swine flu, pink eye, or any other communicable illness, we may close appropriate portions of the school.
 
We are reserving “sick rooms” on campus where we can isolate adults and children who become ill with flu-like symptoms at school until they are taken home.
 
The cleaning crew will take extra measures to disinfect tables, doorknobs, faucets, and other surfaces.
 
We will step up efforts to remind students and teachers of the following precautions to prevent the spread of viruses. We urge you to reinforce these good hygiene practices at home.
 
  • 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. 
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
  • If you develop flu-like symptoms of fever, aches and pains, sore throat, coughing, trouble breathing, runny nose, or nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting, you should contact your health care provider. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing and treatment is needed.
 
For more information about the H1N1 virus, please visit www.flu.oregon.gov
 
If you have any questions about Catlin Gabel’s plans, please get in touch with Chris Balag at 503-297-1894 ext. 274.