Thursday, October 1, 2009

Preventing the flu at Taylor

Principal’s Corner with Mr. Bateson

I want our parents to know the steps we are taking to prevent an outbreak of H1N1 flu here at Taylor. We are in the process of distributing Purell Hand Sanitizer to every classroom, office, and area where students and staff work. We have ordered disinfectant spray for each classroom and reinforced for our custodial staff the importance of wiping down doorknobs and frequently touched surfaces. In the meantime, I want to share with you information from the NM Department of Health and APS about parental responsibilities regarding this flu outbreak:

1. Make sure your contact information (e.g. phone numbers) at school is up-to-date and correct. Information that is not correct causes delays in getting your student care. Give the school nurse other emergency numbers to call if you cannot be reached immediately.
2. Have a family plan about who is going to be able to pick up your student if he or she becomes ill during the school day or the school is closed. It is important that your student be picked up quickly and that you telephone your provider about how to care for your child.
3. Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also effec¬tive. Please supervise children while they are using hand sanitizers.
4. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder; not into your hands.
5. Stay home if you or your child is sick for at least 24 hours after there is no longer a fever or signs of a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medicine such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen). Keep¬ing sick students at home means that they keep their viruses to themselves rather than spreading them with others.
6. If your child was sent home from school one day, your child may not return to school the next day (must be without a fever 24 hours or more without the use of fever reducing medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Never give aspirin).
7. Get your family vaccinated for seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 flu when vaccines are available.
8. Call your healthcare provider for instructions regarding making arrangements for your child to be seen. Do not go to the provider’s office without calling first.

If your child or children are at high risk for flu complications from getting sick with the flu:

1. Make sure your child’s hands are washed for 20 seconds with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub often and especially after coughing or sneezing.
2. Have your child cough and sneeze into a tissue or into his or her elbow or shoulder if a tissue is not available.
3. Keep your child away from people who are sick.
4. Clean surfaces and objects that your child frequently touches with cleaning agents that are usually used.
5. When there is flu in your community, consider your child’s risk of exposure if they attend public gatherings. In communities with a lot of flu, people who are at risk of complications from flu should consider staying away from public gatherings.
6. If flu is severe in your community, talk to your doctor and child’s school to develop a plan on how to handle your child’s special needs.
7. Get your child vaccinated for seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 flu when vaccines are available.
8. High risk students such as preschool, medically fragile, or pregnant students should be held out of school for a minimum of 7 days and until they are without symptoms and without a fever or signs of fever without antipyretics for over 24 hours, whichever is longer, if there is a case reported in their class or site.

If you have any questions about our response to the flu please don’t hesitate to contact me by phone or email. In addition you can contact our nurse Evelyn Martinez

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